In 2012 a major milestone has been reached for the Wi-Fi market: over 5 billion Wi-Fi enabled devices have been shipped in the technologies lifetime. Recent explosive growth has been largely driven by the smartphone and laptop markets but future success will be dependent on Wi-Fi penetration into newer markets such as connected home and automotive devices.
“Wi-Fi continues to develop as a technology in many ways,” said Peter Cooney, wireless connectivity practice director. “The 802.11n protocol is now well established and has pushed the envelope increasing data rates, expanding Wi-Fi into the less crowded 5GHz space and adding MIMO capability, 802.11ac roll out is already well underway with certification to start in 2013 which will build on the 802.11n enhancements. Following this, 802.11ad will push Wi-Fi into a whole new era with tri-band solutions (2.4 GHz/5 GHz/60 GHz) becoming a significant part of the market from 2014 onwards.”
While achieving higher data rates is a key focus for many in the market, Wi-Fi is also expanding its reach with developments to address a whole host of other interesting use cases including such items as mesh networking (802.11s), TV whitespace (802.11af), low power sensor networks (802.11ah), and improvements to network management (802.11k).
The members of the Wi-Fi Alliance are working to push Wi-Fi into many new areas, traditional markets such as smartphones, laptops, and access points will continue to grow and benefit heavily from greater speeds whilst other markets such as automotive, home automation, health and medical, PC peripherals, etc. will see strong growth and continue to expand the Wi-Fi ecosystem beyond just data heavy applications.
These findings are part of ABI Research’s Wi-Fi Research Service, which includes research reports, market data, insights, and competitive assessments.