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WLANs, xDSL and DSPs dominate home networking

Posted: 30 Jul 2008     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:WLAN  DSP  home networking  xDSL 

WLANs, xDSL access networks and DSPs will continue to dominate home networking where one market watcher predicts an estimated 12 per cent growth in units sales over the current five year period.

"The opportunity is for those who can cash in on rising interest in whole home multimedia networks for video and voice," said Tom Hackenberg, an embedded processing research analyst with IMS Research. "Home data networks are beginning to mature, but multimedia capable whole home networks are still very much an emerging market," he said.

The market for access and LAN devices in the home will rise 11.9 per cent on a compound annual basis from 25.6 crore (256 million) units in 2007 to about 45 crore (450 million) units in 2012, according to a new report from IMS. However revenues will increase at a more stately 7.6 per cent pace from about Rs.42,820.65 crore ($10 billion) in 2007 to about Rs.62,089.94 crore ($14.5 billion) in 2012, as product prices decline.

"Interestingly security and home automation products will piggyback on the emerging media networks," Hackenberg added.

LAN devices such as routers, bridges and interface cards will see the fastest growth, rising some 17.6 per cent on a unit basis over the period to about 26.5 crore (265 million) units, according to IMS. The percentage of those devices based around wireless nets such as Wi-Fi will grow from about 65 per cent today to about 70 per cent by 2012, the report projects.

"There also will be significant growth in hybrid wireless/wired home networks over the next five years," said Hackenberg.

Today, wireless Ethernet links make up the second largest number of connections with some 3 crore (30 million) links deployed, but the group is only growing about five per cent on a compound annual basis. By contrast powerline, phoneline and coax links are growing at rates ranging from 28 to 50 per cent.

Worldwide, xDSL technologies continue to be the home access net of choice. About 71 per cent of home access networks were based on some form of xDSL in 2007, a slice that will decline just slightly to 64 per cent by 2012, according to the report.

Under the covers, DSPs will continue to dominate other processor types as the most prevalent in home networking systems. About 50 crore (500 million) DSPs shipped into home net systems in 2007, a figure that will grow to more than 82.5 crore (825 million) by 2012, IMS predicts. The next two largest categories in digital silicon for home networks are 4-8 bit microprocessors and application-specific standard products, roughly tied at a little less than 40 crore (400 million) units each shipping into home net systems by 2012.

"DSPs will continue to be the cheapest alternative for signal processing jobs that will become increasingly important as home nets move to carrying more voice and video traffic," Hackenberg said.

Home networking systems are undergoing a transition from hard-coded microcontrollers to low end microprocessors. That's because designers need more performance and flexibility to deal with nets that increasingly sport more bandwidth to link to a growing number of devices, he added.

- Rick Merritt
EE Times

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