Wi-Fi Still Rules as Consumer Electronics Network Connections Grow

Tuesday, October 13th, 2009
ABI Research logo

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — As the number of connected consumer electronics devices continues to grow, getting the network to the device has become a challenge. Home network technologies such as coax and powerline are making inroads, but a report from ABI Research indicates that wireless connections will remain the dominant technology.

Connected consumer electronics devices are an important part of the emerging and quickly growing home media network. Consumers are becoming more comfortable with the idea of delivering audio and video content throughout the home, on a variety of devices. These devices include HDTVs, video game consoles, networked music receivers, and more. However, as these components are frequently scattered around the home, away from the router, wired connections are often not practical. As a result, Wi-Fi connections in consumer electronics devices will rise from 113 million in 2008 to more than 285 million by 2012.

“While many consumer electronics devices initially adopted Ethernet connections due to cost and potential wireless connectivity issues, Wi-Fi has become the dominant LAN connection type in several device categories,” says digital home practice director Jason Blackwell. “Now we’re seeing Wi-Fi making its way more aggressively into components including digital televisions.”

As bandwidth-intensive applications such as video streaming have become more commonplace, Wi-Fi has evolved with higher speed technologies such as 802.11n. Ethernet will remain a strong second place technology, as it is often integrated in the silicon and does not add a significant amount to the bill of materials costs. Over time, powerline, coax, and high-speed wireless connections will show growth in adoption, especially among service providers.

ABI Research’s study “Home Networking and Digital Home Network Market Analysis” evaluates the market potential for core home networking equipment, including home routers, gateways, bridges and more. Forecasts for entertainment networks are included, along with the estimates of the potential for integrating networking into a number of consumer electronics and service provider platforms. Also included is a discussion of alternative networking technologies, enabling the distribution of data and video content over coax and power lines.

The report forms part of the firm’s Home Networking Research Service, which also includes other Research Reports, Research Briefs, Market Data, ABI Insights, and analyst inquiry support.