Vendors will ship $4 B in Wi-Fi radio chips in 2013, most of these for cellphones, notebooks, netbooks, infrastructure, home entertainment systems and wireless gaming consoles. At the same time, adoption of 802.11n MIMO with multiple transmit streams will help boost the market for Wi-Fi power amplifier modules to twice its 2008 size, despite continued pricing pressure.

“By the end of 2010,” says Christopher Taylor, Director of the Strategy Analytics RF and Wireless Components research service, “802.11n will ship in more than half of all Wi-Fi systems. Prices for single-stream 802.11n (1 x 1) chipsets and PAs have already dropped to match 802.11g, prompting OEMs to quickly begin to switch from 802.11g to 802.11n 1 x 1 chipsets in new products.”

“As Wi-Fi continues to proliferate in new devices and applications, multi-stream MIMO configurations of 802.11n (i.e. 2 x 2, 3 x 3 and 4 x 4, transmit x receive) will rapidly grow in support of demand for greater range, faster file transfers and streaming multimedia in many of these applications,” according to Taylor. This will push the Wi-Fi power amp market to almost $1 B over the next five years according to the Strategy Analytics Wi-Fi component forecast model, which considers MIMO stream adoption rates by application.

Strategy Analytics has determined that Broadcom will probably remain on top, but the firm faces increasing competition from cellular chip vendors bundling connectivity with their platforms, and from chip specialists targeting emerging applications, such as Wi-Fi for home entertainment. In power amplifiers, SiGe Semiconductor has established a firm lead despite increasing competition from GaAs PA module specialists Skyworks, RFMD, TriQuint and Anadigics.

The Strategy Analytics RF & Wireless Components market research service has published its latest findings on Wi-Fi and Wi-Fi ICs in two reports: "Wi-Fi Radio Component Forecast 2009 - 2013: New Applications & MIMO Drive Growth" and "Wi-Fi Radio Component Vendor Share and Outlook: Broadcom & SiGe Semi Positioned to Maintain Leads." The vendor share report profiles more than 30 suppliers of radio components for Wi-Fi and predicts winners and losers.