Wi-Fi 7 and 6 to drive infrastructure rebound

Wi-Fi 7 and 6 to drive infrastructure rebound

Market news |
By Jean-Pierre Joosting

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According ABI Research, in 2023, the worldwide Wi-Fi market faced challenges as 3Q shipments dropped 13.0% YOY, and 2023 revenues expected to fall by 8.1%. Reasons include financial constraints, market saturation, and implementation issues.

However, ABI Research contends that this might be the low point, as 2024 looks promising. Markets are stabilizing, industry hurdles are easing, and the arrival of Wi-Fi 7 and Standard Power 6 GHz will likely reignite demand and create new opportunities. The technology intelligence firm expects these trends will drive an 8.0% CAGR of WLAN infrastructure shipments between 2023 and 2030, with total shipments jumping 71.3%.  

“The rebounding Wi-Fi infrastructure market in 2024 will be markedly different from that of recent years,” says Andrew Spivey, Senior Analyst at ABI Research. “Accelerating the return-to-office trend will spur enterprise Wi-Fi demand, while heightened intra-operator competition will drive appetite for higher-end residential Wi-Fi infrastructure. Infrastructure vendors on both sides must recognize and respond to these shifts. Those targeting enterprise must address modern businesses’ increasing density and performance requirements. At the same time, in the residential sector, vendors will have to grapple with a contracted retail market whose opportunities are concentrated in the high-end.”


Wi-Fi 7 to drive significant innovation

Wi-Fi 7 will inject significant innovation into the Wi-Fi ecosystem in 2024, as the new standard introduces a host of enhancements that will significantly improve capacity and performance. Access to the 6 GHz band will greatly expand the available spectrum, addressing capacity challenges, and headline features such as Multi-Link Operation (MLO) will enhance spectrum efficiency, helping to overcome interference issues in congested environments. These new features will also allow Wi-Fi to serve new applications that the technology previously could not satisfy. However, the introduction of Wi-Fi 7 will not come without challenges. Many regions still lack unlicensed 6 GHz access, severely restricting the performance gains they can expect from the technology. Moreover, the cost of Wi-Fi 7 is considerably higher than Wi-Fi 6, which may pose a barrier to adoption for low Average Selling Price (ASP) markets.

“Alongside powering an enlargement of the Total Addressable Market (TAM) for Wi-Fi technologies, the introduction of Wi-Fi 7 will also amplify the fracturing of the Wi-Fi infrastructure ecosystem between regions with and without unlicensed 6 GHz access. This will give rise to a greater divergence in SKUs for different markets and a higher degree of customization for different customer subsets,” Spivey concludes.

These findings are from ABI Research’s Residential, Enterprise, and Industrial WLAN Markets and Technologies market data report.


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