5GHz shift to fuel demand for Wi-Fi chipsets, claims new report

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More than 20 billion Wi-Fi chipsets will be shipped during the next five years, new research has claimed, with demand for 5GHz set to dominate the market.

A report from ABI Research said the next five years will see Wi-Fi offer new kinds of usage scenarios, access new frequency bands, connect to new kinds of devices and new performance requirements.

It highlighted 802.11ax as a critical new technology which will account for 57 percent of Wi-Fi chipsets by 2021 as vendors seek to take advantage of its advanced performance in dense areas.

However, this will have a knock on effect on 5GHz spectrum, with both 802.11ac and 802.11ax tapping into it, as well as the new LTE-U technology. ABI Research said this could raise problems relating to co-existence with other devices.

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Wi-Gig, which offers high download rates and support for beamforming, will remain a premium standard for the forseeable future, claimed ABI. It said it will be next year until the standard gains momentum as there is still a limited amount of supporting access points and routers, in addition to the high cost.

HaLow, which aims to use Wi-Fi to connect Internet of Things networks, will be a longer term bet, as it faces competition from low-power wireless technologies such as LPWAN. ABI predicted that it will have a one percent share of total shipments by 2021.

Andrew Zignani, Industry Analyst at ABI Research, said: “As Wi-Fi technologies begin operating in different bands, operators and OEMs will place greater emphasis on the mixture of efficiency, throughput, range, and power consumption enhancements that these solutions can offer. MU-MIMO, narrowband implementations, and other enabling technologies can help to ensure that Wi-Fi is able to operate in both the densest deployments and more power constrained IoT applications.”