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One billion Wi-Fi chipsets in 2011

802.11n top Wi-Fi

Wi-Fi seems to be all-pervasive, and in the year 2011 alone Wi-Fi chipset vendors will ship one billion units, according to market data just released by ABI Research.

By the end of the following year a cumulative five billion such chipsets will have shipped since the firm began tracking Wi-Fi chipsets in 2000.

In the near term, says research practice director Philip Solis, "802.11n will be the dominant protocol shipped during 2010, and there will be no looking back as single stream 11n chipsets (those not employing MIMO technologies) increasingly replace 802.11g products."

Wi-Fi is penetrating an ever-widening array of devices. Wi-Fi chipset shipments will total well over 100 million just for smartphones this year, and smartphones, netbooks, and a wide variety of consumer electronics devices such as portable media players, TVs, and cameras will become increasingly important market segments.

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"Although ASPs are falling," says Solis, "the market is growing fast enough to keep revenues increasing."

Among other interesting recent industry developments is Qualcomm's entry into this market with a 4x4 MIMO 802.11n chipset.

Meanwhile, Broadcom continues to be the vendor to catch: "Broadcom's market share may fluctuate from quarter to quarter," notes Solis, "but the company continues to remain firmly on top of the Wi-Fi chipset market, and will likely continue to do so for the foreseeable future."

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