ABI: 20 billion WiFi devices to ship from 2019-2024

June 13, 2019
According to ABI Research, more than 20 billion WiFi devices are forecast to ship between 2019 and 2024. Continued growth in traditional markets of strength ...

According to ABI Research, more than 20 billion WiFi devices are forecast to ship between 2019 and 2024. Continued growth in traditional markets of strength, alongside traction in mesh networking systems, smart home, automotive, and IoT applications are all drive the WiFi market forward to nearly 4 billion annual device shipments by 2024.

"2019 marks the 20th anniversary of WiFi, though the technology shows no signs of slowing down," said Andrew Zignani, principal analyst at ABI. "WiFi 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 months. The need for faster, more reliable, more efficient, and more widespread WiFi coverage is becoming increasingly vital in a world filled with more WiFi devices at both ends of the performance spectrum, from high resolution streaming and low-latency gaming to battery constrained IoT devices."

WiFi's expansion into the 60 GHz and sub-1 GHz bands through WiGig and HaLow have been considerably slower, though ABI Research anticipates these technologies will carve out their own success in the coming years.

"WiGig still has considerable potential for point-to-point applications such as wireless video streaming, virtual reality, and docking, and has recently seen considerable traction in fixed wireless access applications," said Zignani. "HaLow chipsets and IP are finally coming to the market thanks to efforts from startups as Newracom, Morse Micro, and Palma Ceia SemiDesign among others, and the inherent flexibility of the technology could make it very attractive in LPWA type applications."

However, most exciting of all is the anticipated availability of 6 GHz spectrum over the next few years, ABI says.

"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 WiFi that will be unencumbered by legacy WiFi technologies could lead to an unprecedented performance and capacity boost for WiFi in the future," said Zignani. "The WiFi 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 WiFi will continue to drive value well into its 30th anniversary and beyond."        

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