Increasing worldwide broadband penetration, combined with the adoption of multiple connected devices, bandwidth-intensive, and low latency applications in each household is continuously driving the demand for efficient Wi-Fi Consumer Premises Equipment (CPE) devices.
Global tech market advisory firm, ABI Research (www.abiresearch.com), forecasts that the Wi-Fi CPE market, including routers, gateways, whole-home mesh systems, access points, and Wi-Fi extenders will generate 221 million unit shipments in 2019.
“Many applications, including video streaming, gaming, and smart home applications, are simultaneously used by home broadband users from multiple devices. As gigabit-speed broadband service is already available to many residential broadband users, consumers are increasingly demanding faster whole-home Wi-Fi coverage with reliable, high throughput,” notes Khin Sandi Lynn, an industry analyst from ABI Research.
Device makers have introduced Wi-Fi mesh systems to support whole-home Wi-Fi coverage which is now gaining ground in many markets. Service providers, including AT&T, Cox Communications, British Telecom, and Talk Talk, have launched Wi-Fi mesh systems to their broadband customers to support whole-home Wi-Fi experience.
802.11 ax, commonly known as Wi-Fi 6, is the next Wi-Fi standard ready to gain traction in the Wi-Fi CPE market. Supported by key features such as OFDMA, 8×8 MU-MIMO, Wi-Fi 6 can provide a peak data rate up to 10 Gbps. Wi-Fi routers, gateways, and access points supporting Wi-Fi 6 has hit the market over the past one year.
Device makers are also increasingly leveraging Wi-Fi 6 to mesh systems to provide excellent whole-home Wi-Fi experience. Wi-Fi CPE vendors such as ARRIS, TP-Link, and Netgear have announced Wi-Fi mesh systems supporting Wi-Fi 6. For higher efficiency supported by Wi-Fi 6, networking devices with the standard are expected to gain momentum in the next two years in both retail and service provider segments.
For service providers, the ability to support better home Wi-Fi networks is vital for reducing operational cost and reduce churn. Partnerships with CPE vendors to offer next-generation Wi-Fi CPE while expanding gigabit network coverage is essential for service providers.
ABI Research says that strategies such as integration of the latest Wi-Fi standards into broadband CPE, leveraging smart home applications and features such as voice-control platforms can help service providers differentiate their services from competitors. Whole-home Wi-Fi mesh systems and devices supporting higher Wi-Fi standards are expected to boost the Wi-Fi CPE market growth in the next five years. ABI Research forecasts that a total of 254 million Wi-Fi CPE units will be shipped in 2024 with more than half of them supporting Wi-Fi 6.