Wi-Fi market shows no sign of slowing after 20 years

By Dylan Bushell-Embling
Friday, 14 June, 2019

Wi-Fi market shows no sign of slowing after 20 years

More than 20 billion Wi-Fi enabled devices are on track to ship between 2019 and 2024, ABI Research predicts.

The market growth will be driven by continued growth in traditional markets for Wi-Fi devices, as well as the emergence of mesh networking, smart home, connected vehicle and IoT markets, the research firm said.

Shipments are projected to reach nearly 4 billion annually by the end of the forecast period in 2024, according to ABI Research Principal Analyst Andrew Zignani.

“[The year] 2019 marks the 20th anniversary of Wi-Fi, though the technology shows no signs of slowing down. Wi-Fi 6 is quickly gaining momentum in networking devices, while client devices are already arriving into the market and are anticipated to ramp up considerably over the next 12-18 month,” he said.

“The need for faster, more reliable, more efficient and more widespread Wi-Fi coverage is becoming increasingly vital in a world filled with more Wi-Fi devices at both ends of the performance spectrum, from high-resolution streaming and low-latency gaming to battery-constrained IoT devices.”

ABI Research noted that Wi-Fi has been considerably slower to expand into the 60 GHz and sub-1 GHz frequency bands through the WiGig and HaLow standards.

But these technologies are expected to carve out their own niches in the coming years, with WiGig having considerable potential in applications such as wireless video streaming, virtual reality and docking.

Meanwhile, Wi-Fi could get a significant boost from the anticipated availability of 6 GHz spectrum for Wi-Fi applications.

“Though there is much work to be done here from a regulatory perspective, the addition of a possible 1.2 GHz of additional spectrum for Wi-Fi that will be unencumbered by legacy Wi-Fi technologies could lead to an unprecedented performance and capacity boost for Wi-Fi in the future,” Zignani said.

“The Wi-Fi 6 standard is adding support for 6 GHz capabilities, and work is already underway for the next generation that will take full advantage of the new spectrum. These enhancements combined will ensure that Wi-Fi will continue to drive value well into its 30th anniversary and beyond.”

Image credit: ©stock.adobe.com/au/Kalim

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