Work/School from Home Fuels 223 Million SOHO Consumer Wi-Fi CPE Shipments in 2020

06 Oct 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to drive demand for Small Office/Home Office (SOHO)/Consumer Wi-Fi Consumer Premise Equipment (CPE) demand as millions are still forced to work and learn from home.   Global tech market advisory firm, ABI Research forecasts that the worldwide SOHO/Consumer Wi-Fi CPE market will ship more than 223 million units in 2020, a surge of 10 million units from 2019.

“Stay-at-home orders imposed in the first quarter of 2020 forced millions of consumers to work from home and students to do home-based learning, creating the need for ultra-reliable broadband and Wi-Fi connectivity in households worldwide,” explains Khin Sandi Lynn, Industry Analyst at ABI Research.

“There has been a sudden spike in the adoption of Wi-Fi routers and extenders as consumers seek a reliable Wi-Fi network that can simultaneously support multiple users and devices. That spike and the growth in the use of applications such as video conferencing, live TV streaming, and online gaming at home resulted in consumers adopting Wi-Fi CPE for better coverage and higher capacity.”  

Although governments are reopening the economy, the demand for higher efficiency Wi-Fi solutions will continue beyond the pandemic. The adoption of entertainment platforms and IoT devices in broadband households are driving increasing shipments of Wi-Fi mesh systems and CPE with higher Wi-Fi standards. CPE with 802.11ac standard represents 80% of total CPE units shipped at present, however, Wi-Fi 6 (802.11 ax) devices are set to grow. Operators such as Com Hem and Telefonica have introduced CPE supporting Wi-Fi 6 to their customers. Availability through both the service provider and retail markets is expected to significantly drive adoption in the years to come.

“Not surprisingly the COVID-19 pandemic caused delays in enterprise Wi-Fi deployments in 1Q 2020,” Lynn points out. As businesses evaluate their investment priorities based on economic conditions, the adoption in the enterprise segment is likely to remain limited in the short term. In addition, carrier Wi-Fi deployments have been slowing down as LTE network coverage expands across different regions. This will further slow Wi-Fi CPE unit shipments to the enterprise segment.  

“Nonetheless, the migration to Wi-Fi infrastructure with CPE supporting higher Wi-Fi standards such as Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax) creates an opportunity for the enterprise CPE market in the long term. The increasing use of live video streaming during corporate events and in healthcare and education is expected to further drive Wi-Fi 6 adoption,” comments Lynn. 

Wi-Fi 6 will become the dominating Wi-Fi standard by 2023 in both the consumer and enterprise Wi-Fi market while the industry prepares for the next generation Wi-Fi standard, Wi-Fi 6E. Chipset makers such as Qualcomm and Broadcom have announced chipsets supporting Wi-Fi 6E, and the first Wi-Fi CPE are likely to arrive in 2021.  In addition to supporting the latest Wi-Fi standard, the integration of IoT connectivity and cloud-based Wi-Fi network management features will enable CPE makers to differentiate among competitors in both consumer and enterprise Wi-Fi segments. ABI Research forecast consumer and enterprise Wi-Fi CPE shipment will reach 259 million and 15 million units respectively in 2025.

These findings are from ABI Research’s Wi-Fi Customer Premise Equipment (SOHO/Consumer and Enterprise Market) market data report. This report is part of the company’s Video and Cloud research service, which includes research, data, and ABI Insights. Market Data spreadsheets are composed of deep data, market share analysis, and highly segmented, service-specific forecasts to provide detailed insight where opportunities lie.

About ABI Research

ABI Research is a global technology intelligence firm uniquely positioned at the intersection of technology solution providers and end-market companies. We serve as the bridge that seamlessly connects these two segments by providing exclusive research and expert guidance to drive successful technology implementations and deliver strategies proven to attract and retain customers.

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