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Wi-Fi is Central to the Digital Home Universe

As Wi-Fi-enabled consumer electronics proliferate, the growth of 802.11n in connected entertainment devices will outpace that of other networking technologies, according to a market study by ABI Research.

Demand from consumers and device manufacturers to unleash video entertainment around the digital home will create a need for high-speed networking technology, leading to 216 million 802.11n chipsets being targeted towards consumer electronics (CE) devices by 2011.

"Many consumer electronics vendors see Wi-Fi as the primary way to get network-delivered content to their devices," says ABI research director Michael Wolf.

"As consumers increasingly source video content on the Internet and look towards multi-room distribution, older Wi-Fi technologies don't have the bandwidth to deliver this content, particularly over longer ranges. 802.11n, in particular 5 GHz solutions using 40 MHz-wide channels, will help alleviate these constraints."

"Competition will be fierce in the consumer electronics space, which is one of the largest growth segments for Wi-Fi chipsets," adds principal analyst Philip Solis.

"Well-established Wi-Fi semiconductor vendors such as Broadcom and Marvell will be competing against up-and-coming Wi-Fi chipset vendors concentrating on market niches -- companies such as Metalink within the line-powered CE space, and Nanoradio within the portable CE space."

Growth in 802.11n in consumer electronics devices is a natural evolution of the market for faster Wi-Fi from the PC and router markets. As laptop OEMs make 802.11n standard on their high-end laptops, ABI Research believes this will have a natural pull-through effect on 802.11n-enabled home routers.

The wider installed base of 802.11n routers and gateways, combined with increased demand for IP-delivered content on consumer electronics, will push large consumer electronics brands to integrate Wi-Fi in their devices.

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