The global WiFi market was valued at USD 20.67 billion in 2020. It is expected to reach USD 40.82 billion by 2026, registering a CAGR of 12.11% during the forecast period (2021-2026). Working from home has become a megatrend these days. The speed of the shift to large-scale remote work has resulted in personal devices, including mobile phones, laptops, tablets, desktops, etc. Employees are also observed using personal WiFi internet connections to access the corporate network. This unexpected disruption due to the COVID-19 pandemic boosted the use of WiFi to keep businesses and critical functions operational. On the companies end, multiple industries globally bounced back from the COVID-19 pandemic via engaging in bandwidth-hungry applications, such as voice, video, and IoT devices. Therefore, as the demand for WiFi increases, wireless networks become oversubscribed, leading the allied IT teams to throttle application performance.
- Machine-to-Machine applications are increasingly driven toward wireless connections. Multiple investments into connectivity for retail and manufacturing are contributing to the growth. Such growth creates congestion in both 2.4 and 5 GHz, driving the demand for the 6 GHz spectrum allocation.
- Further, Edge networks and computing have led enterprise architectures to optimize processing for business-critical analysis of data sets from IoT applications and communications. As per Uptime Institute, 50% of all workloads may run outside the enterprise data center by 2021. This makes the requirement for low-latency, real-time communications, and high-definition video applications further boosted by the multi-access edge enabled by 5G and WiFi 6.
- Toward services, the connected networks of control devices are expected to communicate directly with each other, without translation and IP-based standards. This integrated approach with wireless connectivity and compute platforms may enable design innovation.
- For instance, as of February 2021, the WiFi Alliance introduced WiFi CERTIFIED QoS Management, a new certification program delivering a standardized approach to traffic prioritization to improve the WiFi experience with real-time applications. It is aimed to provide an end-to-end approach to Quality of Service (QoS) treatment in WiFi networks.
- Moreover, Toward market vendor activities, acquisition, and product/service launches indicate an active marketplace. In January 2021, NETGEAR Inc., a provider of advanced networking products for home and office, announced two new mobile products, a WiFi 6 mobile wireless router - the Nighthawk 4G LTE WiFi 6 Router (LAX20), and the NETGEAR 4G LTE Modem (LM1200). Allied router supports advanced WiFi 6 networking technology delivering 1.8Gbps of high-performance WiFi and improved network capacity for connected devices on the home network.
- Additionally, Public WiFi networks (those with a pre-shared key) do not represent a safe option. While these networks may not have the same intentions as retail stores, the absence of a level of assurance or legal obligation for them to secure a device or data poses a threat. Again, users have no way to make sure of the intercept and inability to read and modify their data.
Key Market Trends
Indoor is Expected to Account For Significant Market Share
- The popularity of Wi-Fi has increased invariably in recent years. The technology development has allowed local area networks (LANs) to operate without wiring and cables, making it the preferable choice for business and home. Wi-Fi has also been utilized to provide wireless broadband Internet access for connected devices, such as laptops, smartphones, tablet computers, and electronic gaming consoles.
- Further, GPS is a technology that is typically obstructed by walls and does not do well inside buildings for location tracking. To counter this, Wi-Fi has emerged as a popular technology choice for calculating the position of an asset tag for a real-time location system (RTLS).
- Although Wi-Fi generally features shorter ranges of operation, the signal can be extended up to 150 meters. The accuracy typically depends on how many access points are deployed in the environment. The number of access points in the area is directly proportional to the production of a precise and accurate location. Wi-Fi positioning systems do not require additional hardware or infrastructure maintenance. Since most office spaces, homes, and other facilities already have Wi-Fi infrastructure installed, providing a base level of positioning capability is possible without additional investments.
- Moreover, Wi-Fi Calling is another primary application in indoor Wi-Fi settings. Increasing mobile subscription rates have been causing cellular networks to face difficulties with distributing their offerings and penetrating modern buildings; people have begun running most of their data through Wi-Fi.
- Further, Voice calls can be transmitted over Wi-Fi either in the form of OTT applications such as Skype or as initiatives such as femtocells and UMA to enhance the reach of mobile voice services in users’ homes. Moreover, charging the same rate for domestic and international calls has made it an attractive alternative to general network tariffs.
- Further, a majority of the households are being transformed into smart homes that require the internet to facilitate many functions. The advent of smart TV, smart speakers, such as Amazon Echo and Google Home, boosted the growth of the wireless router market.
Asia-Pacific to Witness the Fastest Growth
- China has an established ecosystem for 5G, which is expected to grow further in the forecast period. However, the 5G technology is likely to serve as a hotspot technology and the current mobile broadband, and the growth is expected to be gradual. In the Asia-Pacific region, China has one of the most extensive 5G networks. According to the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, China expects to build over 600,000 5G base stations in 2021.
- In China, Wi-Fi is also widely being used for indoor applications. With its robust consumer electronics industry, the country is expected to witness the rapid adoption of Wi-Fi over the forecast period. Additionally, in November 2020, a China-based company, ZTE, launched its first Wi-Fi 6 set-top box, the ZTE ZXV10 B860AV6, which offers high-speed internet access, along with high stability and low latency. Additionally, it supports Wi-Fi 6 Transmission QoS solutions and a Smart Networking Solution for the whole house.
- Further, the Government of Japan agreed to an initiative that seeks to drive investments in the development of smart cities. According to an announcement by the Ministry of Land Management, the government had earlier agreed to "smart city principles," which deal primarily with the use of IT to develop modern urban spaces and urban management. This has effectively created the Public-Private Platform for Urban Development between Cambodia and Japan.
- In March 2021, SoftBank Corp. launched its 5G millimeter (mmWave) service in Japan using Qualcomm Snapdragon 5G mobile platforms and Modem-RF systems. 5G mmWave allows Japanese users to enjoy the fastest possible multi-Gigabit download speeds in the country. Along with the launch, SoftBank is also making its Pocket Wi-Fi 5G A004ZT 5G mmWave mobile hotspot available for sale.
- Further, In December 2020, India's government revealed its plans to launch public Wi-Fi across the country. This project was called "PM-Wani." The three-tier system aimed to offer last-mile connectivity and bring India's population of approximately 1.36 billion online. According to the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, anyone can sign up to become a public data officer (PDO). They don't require to apply for a registration or license or pay a fee.
- Additionally, According to an update in December 2020, South Korea established a free nationwide wireless internet network on public buses for the first time in the world. This was done to provide citizens with easy access to information and reduce communication costs. Also, the South Korean government plans to install an additional 10,000 free Wi-Fi access points in public areas. By 2022, it hopes to have installed 41,000 access in total at public locations across the country, such as transportation stations and community service centers.
The Wi-Fi market is highly competitive, with several major players. The major players with prominent shares in the market focus on expanding their customer base across foreign countries. These companies are leveraging strategic collaborative initiatives to increase their market share and profitability. The companies operating in the market also acquire start-ups working on wireless router technologies to strengthen their product capabilities. Some of the recent developments in the market are:
- June 2021 - Cisco introduced a new Catalyst industrial edge routers for mobile and fixed asset connectivity and an IoT gateway series for IoT use cases. The new portfolio of three routers and a new IoT gateway series would extend the enterprise network and SD-WAN to the edge and allow businesses to tap into that valuable data to power connected operations rather than edge environments that work in isolation. The routers would also help secure and power new use cases that have been cropping up in new places due to digital transformation, including connected utility substations and transportation.
- May 2021 - Juniper Networks extended its Wi-Fi 6 access points with four new products, all designed to bring high-performance wireless networks to multiple working environments, such as remote working, outdoors, and small businesses. The new products are the first cloud-managed Wi-Fi 6 access points with integrated AI-driven automation and insights delivered by the Juniper Mist wireless solution. They work with the Juniper AP portfolio to provide Wi-Fi 6 operations and “AI for AX” features.
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1.2 Scope of the Study
4.2 Market Drivers
4.2.1 Rise in Demand for Smart Consumer Electronics Devices in the Major Markets
4.2.2 Ongoing Smart City Projects Focused on Deployment of Outdoor Wi-Fi in Emerging Regions
4.2.3 Ongoing Technological Advancements in Wi-Fi Technology (Wi-Fi 6 Standard Implementation, Etc.)
4.3 Market Challenges (Operational Challenges in Denser Environments and Security Concerns Related to Implementation in Outdoor Areas)
4.4 Industry Ecosystem Analysis
4.5 Impact of COVID-19 on the Wi-Fi Industry (Recent Changes in Work Environment has Led to Increasing Demand for Indoor Wi-Fi Products and the Impact of BYOD Trends)
4.6 Evolution of Wi-Fi Standards and Regulations
5.2 Economic Value Realized by Wi-Fi Industry, to Include a Breakdown, by Geography
5.3 Commodification of Wi-Fi and the Emergence of New Business Models
5.4 Impact of 5G Implementation on the Wi-Fi Industry
6.2 Market Breakdown and Shipment Information on Connectivity Standards - 7.3.1 802.11b/G/N, 802.11ac, 802.11ax
7.1.1 Access Points
7.1.3 Routers and Extenders
7.1.4 Services (Design, Implementation, and Support)
7.1.5 Other Device Types
7.1.6 Other Solutions
7.2 By Application Type
7.2.1 Indoor (Residential, Enterprises, Education)
7.2.2 Outdoor (Public Services, Transportation, Public Utilities, Etc.)
7.3.1 North America
188.8.131.52 United States
184.108.40.206 United Kingdom
220.127.116.11 Rest of Europe
7.3.3 Asia Pacific
18.104.22.168 South Korea
22.214.171.124 Rest of Asia Pacific
7.3.4 Latin America
7.3.5 Middle East and Africa
8.1.1 Cisco Systems Inc.
8.1.2 Aruba Networks (HP Enterprise)
8.1.3 CommScope (Ruckus Networks (Arris International))
8.1.4 Juniper Networks Inc.
8.1.5 Telefonaktiebolaget LM Ericsson
8.1.6 Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd
8.1.7 Aerohive Networks (Extreme Networks)
8.1.8 MetTel Inc.
8.1.9 Cloud4Wi Inc.
8.1.10 Fortinet Inc.
8.1.11 Purple Wi-Fi Ltd
8.1.13 Ubiquiti Inc.
8.1.14 Motorola Solutions Inc.
8.1.15 New H3C Technologies Co. Ltd
A selection of companies mentioned in this report includes:
- Cisco Systems Inc.
- Aruba Networks (HP Enterprise)
- CommScope (Ruckus Networks (Arris International))
- Juniper Networks Inc.
- Telefonaktiebolaget LM Ericsson
- Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd
- Aerohive Networks (Extreme Networks)
- MetTel Inc.
- Cloud4Wi Inc.
- Fortinet Inc.
- Purple Wi-Fi Ltd
- Ubiquiti Inc.
- Motorola Solutions Inc.
- New H3C Technologies Co. Ltd