Saturday, July 18, 2009

802.11g Still Ahead of 802.11n Until 2010

I can understand folks upgrading from b to g since the older wireless protocol is pretty old now. The switch to g for most people was a no brainer since it offer greater flexibility and greater security.

As it was with any wireless protocol, there are folks who would upgrade first even before the protocol has been properly ratified. But from some reason, blogs and the media has been more 3G, iPhones, and waiting for LTE/WiMax to come to us. So there has not been a whole lot of home wireless networks.

It wasn't until lately that I began looking into routers that support 802.11n as I began looking into streaming video from one computer to another. Even then, 802.11g works just as well with The Daily Show streaming from my Mac Mini to my Macbook while the Slingplayer did its thing on another laptop.

But eventually, I'll want to stream HD quality video and 802.11g might no be enough. But I was surprised to learn that g still has not overtaken n in terms of sales and that would not happen until 2010. And with the economy in the shape it is in, I don't see many folks upgrading unless they absolutely have to.

Here is In-Stat's $3500 report offering the following summary:
  • Total Wi-Fi chipset revenue will pass $4 billion by 2012.
  • Set-top boxes currently have the largest adoption of Wi-Fi in non-portable consumer electronics applications. By 2013, shipments of Wi-Fi-enabled TVs, however, will exceed shipments of Wi-Fi-enabled set-top boxes.
  • Although there have been draft n/802.11n shipments in most markets for some time, we will see the first shipments of draft n/802.11n-enabled portable CE equipment in 2009. These shipments will be dominated by personal media players. Digital still/video cameras will make up the majority of the remaining of draft n/802.11n-enabled portable CE equipment shipments in 2009.
  • In 2008, Wi-Fi chipsets in mobile handsets grew by more than 51%. By 2010, In-Stat anticipates that this category will consume in excess of 20% of total Wi-Fi chipset shipments.
So, more TV will have Wi-Fi for streaming video. I guessing it'll have to be HD quality. This is accompanied by mobile devices and even cameras to upload videos and pictures. Also to support this assertions, Sprint and Verizon recently decreed that all their handset sand mobile devices must ship with Wi-Fi access.

While it has always baffled me why wireless providers previously kept Wi-Fi access off their phones, I am glad they've had this change of heart. My guess is that with more and more mobile warriors using their handsets for Internet access, the wireless providers are finding their networks more strained than ever before. Their best solution is to offload those traffic to Wi-Fi networks when possible.

In fact, according to Wired, ATT bought Wayport for $275 million to expand their Wi-Fi network by 10k hotspots.

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