Technology | Media | Telecommunications

Monday, February 13, 2012

Wi-Fi Use Cases will Develop in Many New Devices

We're going to see a dramatic increase in non-traditional Wi-Fi applications in 2012, as a multitude of fixed and mobile devices use it as the primary means to communicate across short distances.

This will positively impact the whole Wi-Fi ecosystem. In fact, the Wi-Fi chipset market continues to develop at an accelerated pace as a growing number of consumer electronics (CE) devices integrate Wi-Fi capabilities.

As the demand for devices with Wi-Fi connectivity grows, and as prices for chip-sets decrease, new markets for Wi-Fi are opening in areas traditionally dominated by other wireless connectivity standards.

According to the latest market study by NPD In-Stat, new markets such as smart meters, wireless mice, automobiles, and home automation will help drive sales of Wi-Fi chipsets to $6.1 billion in 2015.

"As Wi-Fi appears in more and more devices the demand for additional bandwidth will grow along with it," says Greg Potter, analyst at NPD In-Stat.

Granted, broadband speeds are not yet fully utilizing the available bandwidth allowed by Wi-Fi. However, newer use case scenarios -- such as devices streaming high-definition video to the TV -- necessitate an increase in bandwidth.

New wireless standards, such as 802.11ac, aim to provide that necessary speed increase.

In-Stat's latest research findings include:
  • The introduction of low-power Wi-Fi chipsets presents a challenge to Bluetooth in certain markets.
  • 802.11ac will grow rapidly with chipset shipments to surpass 650 million by 2015.
  • By 2015, the three biggest markets for 802.11ac will be smartphones, notebooks, and tablets.
  • All of the chips shipping in the automotive market will be Bluetooth/Wi-Fi combo chips.