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WiFi chipsets to ship more than 2.6B in 2014

Posted: 07 May 2014     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:ABI Research  WiFi chipset  wireless  WiGig  Internet of Things 

More than 2.6 billion WiFi chipsets are forecast to ship this year. This is according to ABI Research, which also underscored that WiFi is presently the most ubiquitous wireless connectivity technology for Internet access. As the technology continues to adapt and expand with new protocols such as 802.11ac, 802.11ax, 802.11ad (WiGig) and WiFi Direct, nearly 18 billion more chips will ship cumulatively from 2015-2019, noted the market analyst.

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

WiFi protocols will continue evolving as well. By the end of the forecast period, dual-band 802.11n/802.11ac will comprise the vast majority of chipsets shipped among all the protocols. Dual-band 802.11n/802.11ac had a strong start in 2013 by surpassing 100 million shipments in the smartphone space alone, which accounted for a sizable fraction of the total shipped that year. There will be a strong ramp of tri-band 802.11n/802.11ac/802.11ad during the next five years as well.

WiFi Direct-enabled products will surpass three billion shipped in 2019 with the highest attach rates in ultraportable PCs media tablets and traditional laptops. However, the largest category of WiFi Direct-enabled products in terms of units shipped in 2019 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, WiFi's evolution will not stop there. Aside from this shift and pairing WiFi 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 WiFi in the home will be supported by the technology's continued evolution."

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