802.11ad Chipset Market to Reach a Critical Juncture in 2017 with WiGig Certification Now Underway

ABI Research Forecasts WiGig Will Play Key Role in the Transition to Cable-Free Devices
09 Nov 2016

The 802.11ad (WiGig) chipset market is set to reach a critical juncture in 2017 when the technology increasingly penetrates the computing space and forges new ground in smartphones, tablets, and other connected home devices. With WiGig certification now underway, ABI Research forecasts more than one billion WiGig chipsets will ship in 2021 as it enables wireless docking, and enhances multimedia streaming, data transfer between devices, and networking applications.

“A major challenge for WiGig in moving to the 60GHz band is to build up an ecosystem and solid set of use cases to drive growth,” says Andrew Zignani, Industry Analyst at ABI Research. “WiGig-enabled docks can be costly, and OEMs may choose not to implement the technology if there are only a limited number of devices that will work with the accessories.”

ABI Research expects to see growing confidence in the standard as more WiGig chipsets come to market from key industry players like Broadcom, Intel, Lattice Semiconductor, MediaTek, Nitero, Peraso, and Qualcomm. This will build momentum and help cut costs with the first WiGig-enabled smartphones, anticipated to come to market in 2017, will lead to greater adoption of tri-band products that incorporate 2.4GHz, 5GHz, and 60GHz technologies. ABI Research forecasts 28% of smartphones will support WiGig by 2021.

WiGig can also help to expand the total network speed and capacity by offloading data traffic from the crowded 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands onto the 60GHz band, selecting the most appropriate band depending on the environment. The expansion into this unlicensed millimeter wave spectrum lays the groundwork for the continued evolution of Wi-Fi for years to come. However, due to range limitations of the technology, questions remain over how prolific WiGig will be for Internet access, particularly as new and faster Wi-Fi standards such as 802.11ax arrive to the market.

And while WiGig will ultimately play a key role in the transition to completely cable-free computing, it will also drive new opportunities in AR/VR applications in which cutting the cord is even more vital and desirable. WiGig can remove a literal obstacle in the devices’ path to adoption.

“With continual improvements in physical connectivity through Thunderbolt 3 and USB-C, in addition to the next-generation 60GHz Wi-Fi protocol (802.11ay) on the horizon, the time is now for WiGig to forge its place in the market,” concludes Zignani. “2017 will be a critical year for growth and adoption of WiGig across the PC, mobile, consumer electronics industry, and beyond.”  

These findings are from ABI Research’s Wi-Fi.

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