In-Stat: Wi-Fi Increasingly Popular for Networking CE Devices

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SCOTTSDALE, AZ — Consumer electronics (CE) devices with networking capabilities became more common in 2010, according to research firm In-Stat, in part because the newest Wi-Fi standard, 802.11n, makes it easy to transfer large volumes of data wirelessly. In-Stat forecasts that the number of 802.11n-enabled CE devices shipped will grow rapidly, from 53 million units in 2010 to almost 300 million in 2015. What's more, the impact of the next generation of Wi-Fi - 802.11ac - will be even greater.

Portable CE devices, such as digital still cameras, e-readers and handheld games, are obvious candidates for Wi-Fi networking. However, even stationary devices, such as digital photo frames, digital televisions and gaming consoles, are increasingly becoming Wi-Fi-enabled as consumers see the benefits of Internet connectivity without wiring.

“The migration to 802.11n is an impressive but interim step in the evolution of Wi-Fi. Users will see significantly greater speed and range than 802.11.b/g,” says Frank Dickson, VP of mobile Internet at In-Stat. “However, looming on the horizon is 802.11ac, with speeds of around 1 Gbps, as the Wi-Fi ecosystem looks to address the movement of video in a serious way. The first shipments won’t hit the market until 2013, and its real impact will not be felt until 2015 and beyond.”

Some of the research findings include:

  • E-readers will reach a Wi-Fi attach rate of 85 percent by 2013.

  • More than 82 million 802.11n-enabled tablets will ship in 2012.

  • Mobile devices with Wi-Fi will still dominate shipments. In 2013, shipments of mobile phones with embedded Wi-Fi are projected to exceed three-quarters of a billion units.

  • Twenty-nine million digital photo frames will be shipped in 2014, of which 53 percent will be Wi-Fi-enabled.

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