Demand for efficient Wi-Fi customer premises equipment (CPE) is rising sharply due to broadband penetration, combined with the adoption of multiple connected devices, according to a new Wi-Fi shipments forecast from ABI Research.
According to the ABI report, the Wi-Fi CPE market, including routers, gateways, whole-home mesh systems, access points and Wi-Fi extenders will generate 221 million unit shipments this year.
Wi-Fi 6 (802.11 ax), the next Wi-Fi standard ready to gain traction in the Wi-Fi CPE market, can provide a peak data rate up to 10 Gbps. The need for higher speeds has already helped drive Wi-Fi routers, gateways, and access points supporting Wi-Fi 6 into the market over the past year.
The report further points out that device makers are also increasingly leveraging Wi-Fi 6 with mesh capability to provide an improved whole-home Wi-Fi experience, with Wi-Fi CPE vendors such as ARRIS, TP-Link, and Netgear announcing Wi-Fi mesh systems supporting Wi-Fi 6.
The ability to support better home Wi-Fi networks is vital for reducing operational cost and reduce churn. The answer to this for service providers, according to the research firm, is partnerships with CPE vendors to offer next-generation Wi-Fi CPE while expanding gigabit network coverage
ABI added that 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.
“Many applications, including video streaming, gaming, and smart home applications, are simultaneously used by home broadband users from multiple devices,” said Khin Sandi Lynn, an industry analyst from ABI Research, in a prepared statement. “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.”