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Wi-Fi chipset shipment heads for an 18 billion gain

Posted: 06 May 2014  Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Wi-Fi  chipset  ABI Research 

Wi-Fi dominates wireless connectivity as the most ubiquitous technology for Internet access, with over 2.6 billion chipsets slated to be shipped this year, according to ABI Research. It has evolved and continuously so, adapting and expanding with new protocols such as 802.11ac, 802.11ax, 802.11ad (WiGig), and Wi-Fi Direct. In the next five years, Wi-Fi chipset shipment is thus predicted to soar to 18 billion.

"There will be a roughly even split in 2019 for Wi-Fi chipsets of different integration levels," said research director Philip Solis of ABI Research. "Standalone, or discrete, Wi-Fi chipsets – increasingly targeting the Internet of Things – will be the largest group, followed by integrated platforms with Wi-Fi targeting mobile devices, followed by Wi-Fi combo chipsets."

Wi-Fi protocols will catch up as well. By the end of the forecast period, dual-band 802.11n/802.11ac is expected to comprise the vast majority of chipsets shipped among all the protocols. The protocol had a strong start in 2013 by surpassing 100 million shipments in the smartphone space alone, accounting for a sizable fraction of the total shipment. Tri-band 802.11n/802.11ac/802.11ad shipments will also experience growth in the next five years.

Meanwhile, Wi-Fi Direct-enabled products will surpass the three billion shipment ceiling in 2019 with the highest attach rates in ultraportable PCs media tablets, and traditional laptops. However, the largest category of Wi-Fi Direct-enabled products in terms of units shipped will be smartphones.

"Even as the industry starts to move this year from 802.11ac Wave 1 to Wave 2 chipsets that can support larger channels and MU-MIMO, Wi-Fi's evolution will not stop there. Aside from this shift and pairing Wi-Fi with WiGig (802.11ad), 802.11ax will start replacing 802.11ac towards the end of the forecast period," added Solis. "802.11ax will further maximise efficient use of 5GHz spectrum by utilising unused chunks of spectrum, even coordinating this with other nearby access points. Essentially, 802.11ax will be a better version of 802.11ac Wave 2 that will allow for even greater data rates. The proliferation of Wi-Fi in the home will be supported by the technology's continued evolution."





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