Wireless home networking becomes more desirable

27 February 2002 News

With their ability to enable cable-free networking of devices in the home, mobility throughout the residence, and the sharing of Internet access among several members of the household, wireless home networking technologies are, and will continue to become increasingly desirable to consumers. This is according to high-tech research firm In-Stat, who reports that with Wi-Fi Access Point (AP) gateway devices generally running from $150-$200, and with PC cards falling to the sub-$100 range, consumers are more willing to get on the wireless train.

"The idea of being wirelessly connected to the Internet is slowly becoming flashy and sexy, at the same time boosting mobility and productivity," says Gemma Paulo, an industry analyst with In-Stat/MDR. In addition to this, the evolution of Network Interface Card (NIC) form-factors has enabled the embedding of NICs into laptops and wireless gateways. As a result, the embedded market is expected to grow against the percentage of nonembedded in the home, as more and more 802.11x technology is embedded into all kinds of consumer electronics devices and gateways. Low-cost, low-power technologies such as Zigbee and Spike will be embedded into gaming devices, kitchen appliances and home security systems, etc. Other wireless technologies such as Ultra-Wideband (UWB) and peer-to-peer mesh technology may also show up in household devices in the future.

According to the group, HomeRF shipments comprised approximately 45% of total wireless Local Area Network (LAN) node shipments to the home in 2000, but for 2001, HomeRF will only command approximately 30% of the total residential WLAN market. HomeRF's percentage of the total market will continue to decrease over the forecast period.

Total WLAN nodes going into the home in 2001 will be 4 million worldwide, with approximately 70% of these being 802.11b, and the remainder being primarily HomeRF. 802.11x technologies are expected to increase as a percentage of the total WLAN nodes going forward across the forecast period into 2006, predicts In-Stat.

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