Global forecast on multi-access point WiFi

20th July 2018
Alex Lynn

It has been announced that Rethink Technology Research, a research and analyst company focusing on video networks, OTT, Pay TV and Broadband, has released a new Multi-AP five-year forecast, entitled: The Multi-AP WiFi revolution: How WiFi jumps 10X and takes over the world.

The report forecasts how by 2023 Cloud management software will control 658 million WiFi homes, with software worth $346m. Separately by 2023 some 364 million of those homes will have more than a single access point cooperating to create a home WiFi network.

The report suggest that this outcome will lead to a savage reinstatement of operator controlled WiFi, making huge dents in the WiFi retail market, and it will shift the broadband market control to a new class of ‘early adopter’ specialist WiFi player.

What consumers will notice is that WiFi will become more reliable as operators prepare for the one gigabyte per second broadband market by improving their WiFi throughput. Many will do this as 802.11AX devices come on stream in the coming two to three years.

This revolution is raging quietly through the world’s broadband operators, with the potential to upgrade many of the one billion homes with Home Gateway and Cloud software, which will turn operator controlled WiFi into a kind of Super WiFi. In fact not only are the world’s broadband operators at it, some DTH operators with no broadband pipe are hijacking WiFi to turn it to their own purposes, so everyone is getting in on this.

The first stage of this requires a simple upgrade to home gateway software so that it controls policy on the device and talks to the cloud, and for further improvements, it requires the delivery of more than a single access point in each home, what we now call Multi-AP, in either extender or mesh configurations. 

Already today there are 46 million homes that have some kind of managed WiFi and 16.8 million Multi-AP installs, but this is estimated to grow some 20 fold over the forecast period in one of the most rapid consumer technology roll outs ever.

This report explains how this will work and shows the WiFi speeds that will come about, with 90% of it happening below the surface, invisible to the end user.

The operator’s dilemma is to do this both cheaply while adding one gigabyte per second broadband and make considerable savings in broadband field engineering and help desks costs.

This is a strategic issue for C suite executives in cellular operators, OTT video services, ISPs, pay TV operators, and their equipment and software suppliers, and investors.

Purchase the full report here.

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