Wi-Fi 6 an opportunity for operators in the home

News

ABI Research forecasts that Wi-Fi 6 devices will account for over half of the Consumer Premises Equipment (CPE) market by 2024. The news comes after the Wi-Fi Alliance  launched a Wi-Fi 6 certification programme earlier this week.

The Alliance says the standard will provide new features and capabilities that enable substantially better Wi-Fi network performance in high-density environments such as stadiums, airports and industrial parks. Residental applications could also be significant, according to ABI Research.

Khin Sandi Lynn, analyst at ABI Research, said, “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.”

CPE equipment includes routers, gateways, whole-home mesh systems, access points, and Wi-Fi extenders.

What is Wi-Fi 6?

Wi-Fi 6’s features include: orthogonal frequency division multiple access (OFDMA, which shares channels to increase network efficiency and lower latency in high-demand environments; multi-user multiple input multiple output (MU-MIMO), which allows more downlink data to be transferred at once and enables an access point to transmit data to a larger number of devices concurrently. Transmit beamforming enables higher data rates at a given range for greater network capacity and 160 MHz channels increase bandwidth for greater performance with low-latency. Wi-Fi 6 offers peak data rates of up to 10 Gbps.

Device-makers have introduced Wi-Fi mesh systems to support whole-home Wi-Fi coverage, which is now gaining ground in many markets. Several service providers, including BT and Talk Talk, have launched Wi-Fi mesh systems to their broadband customers to support whole-home Wi-Fi experience.

ABI Research forecasts that the Wi-Fi CPE market will generate 221 million unit shipments in 2019.

Lynn said, “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. 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.”