The Covid-19 pandemic is continuing to drive demand for consumer premise equipment (CPE) and Wi-Fi as millions are still forced to work and learn from home according to analyst firm ABI Research.
The Wi-Fi Customer Premise Equipment (SOHO/Consumer and Enterprise Market found that worldwide SOHO/Consumer Wi-Fi CPE market will ship more than 223 million units in 2020, a surge of 10 million units from 2019.
Khin Sandi Lynn, industry analyst at ABI Research, said: “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.
“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.”
And it’s not just home working and schooling that’s driving demand. 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 specs.
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, says ABI. Operators such as Com Hem and Telefonica have introduced CPE supporting Wi-Fi 6. 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 added regarding findings from the Wi-Fi Customer Premise Equipment (SOHO/Consumer and Enterprise Market report. "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.”