Consumer Wi-Fi: Faster, smarter and near-impossible to replace

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While 5G continues to occupy 90% of the industry’s focus, Wi-Fi is quietly entrenching its role for consumers, especially in the home. It is central to media consumption and domestic IoT. In its 20th anniversary year, how will the new WiFi6 – along with whole-home meshes – make it even harder to displace? And how should telcos and others play?


Format: PDF filePages: 43 pagesCharts:21Author: Dean BubleyPublication Date: April 2019

Table of Contents

  • Executive Summary
  • Introduction
  • Part of the broader battle for home/consumer services
  • Unlicensed spectrum – why it matters
  • What’s in a name? Why WiFi 6 is important
  • Wi-Fi and telcos: A complex relationship
  • Telco residential Wi-Fi evangelists
  • Wi-Fi technology evolution
  • Whole-home Wi-Fi: A game-changer
  • New revenue for telcos?
  • Is Wi-Fi threatened by 4G/5G?
  • Wi-Fi and IoT
  • Competition vs. Bluetooth, Zigbee & Z-Wave
  • Competition vs. cellular and LPWA?
  • The vendor / internet space
  • Arrival of the major technology firms
  • Beyond connectivity: New use-cases for Wi-Fi
  • Conclusions and recommendations
  • Recommendations for fixed and cable operators / ISPs
  • Recommendations for mobile operators
  • Recommendations for regulators and policymakers

Table of Figures

  • Figure 1: Consumer Wi-Fi is a new control-point for smart home connections
  • Figure 2: Wi-Fi has a huge economic impact for users, SPs and industry
  • Figure 3: About half of all IP traffic across all devices is delivered via Wi-Fi
  • Figure 4: Simpler, more consumer-friendly branding for Wi-Fi
  • Figure 5: What’s new with Wi-Fi6 / 802.11ax?
  • Figure 6: Wi-Fi is a double-edged sword for telcos; better for fixed ISPs than MNOs
  • Figure 7: There are multiple determinants of good home broadband experience
  • Figure 8: Some broadband operators market their service based on Wi-Fi performance
  • Figure 9: MU-MIMO enables gigabit speeds for Wi-Fi
  • Figure 10: Wi-Fi companion apps are becoming commonplace
  • Figure 11: Mesh networks can provide a connectivity backbone for smart homes
  • Figure 12: In-home Wi-Fi boosters or mesh improve satisfaction significantly
  • Figure 13: KPN’s Wi-Fi tuner app enables optimal coverage & performance
  • Figure 14: Some telcos & ISPs are using mesh Wi-Fi to offer QoS/coverage guarantees
  • Figure 15: Whole-home Wi-Fi offers better indoor awareness than cellular
  • Figure 16: Huawei’s 5G home FWA blends an outdoor mmWave unit with indoor Wi-Fi
  • Figure 17: Consumer Wi-Fi is a new control-point for smart home connections
  • Figure 18: Wi-Fi silicon specialists sometimes work directly with telcos
  • Figure 19: Software, cloud and security capabilities are likely to be exploited by CSP Wi-Fi in future
  • Figure 20: Motion-detection is one of the most intriguing future Wi-Fi capabilities
  • Figure 21: Wi-Fi plus voice integration will accelerate with the Amazon/eero acquisition

Technologies and industry terms referenced include: 4G, 5G, broadband, consumer services, IoT, Smart Home, Wi-Fi