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More Than 20 Billion Wi-Fi Chipsets To Ship Up To 2021

ABI Research anticipates that more than 20 billion Wi-Fi chipsets will ship between 2016 and 2021, with Wi-Fi solutions branching out into new usage scenarios, frequency bands, device types and performance requirements.

ABI additionally expects more than 95 per cent of devices shipped in 2021 to support 5 GHz Wi-Fi, which it states will add “to the debate over spectrum sharing with cellular technologies”.

“As Wi-Fi technologies begin operating in different bands, operators and OEMs will place greater emphasis on the mixture of efficiency, throughput, range and power consumption enhancements that these solutions can offer,” Andrew Zignani, ABI industry analyst, commented.

“MU-MIMO, narrowband implementations, and other enabling technologies can help to ensure that Wi-Fi is able to operate in both the densest deployments and more power-constrained IoT applications.”

ABI forecasts that 802.11ax, a new Wi-Fi standard under development, will account for 57 per cent of Wi-Fi chipsets by 2021, with increased pressure on the 5 GHz spectrum, as both 802.11ac and 802.11ax continue the migration toward 5 GHz Wi-Fi, to also be exacerbated by the arrival of LTE-U.

“This could potentially add to existing challenges and concerns over successful coexistence between the technologies going forward,” ABI notes.

ABI states that 802.11ad, known as WiGig, “will remain a premium feature for some time”, noting that, while its high cost may hinder adoption, companies focusing on 802.11ad, such as Intel, Peraso and Qualcomm “should help drive the ecosystem forward”.

“ABI Research data suggests that it will likely take until 2017 for real scale to build, though, as there still needs to be a strong push to get the technology in areas beyond the limited number of access points and routers currently supporting it,” ABI states.

“HaLow will also see opportunities in the years ahead. However, it will take some time for this technology to gain widespread traction, as it still faces strong competition from other low-power wireless technologies and LPWAN technologies.

“For this reason, ABI Research predicts HaLow chipsets to only represent 1 per cent of total shipped Wi-Fi chipsets by 2021.”

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