A new Wi-Fi standard is to be set this year as one research company predicts three million new routers housing gigabit throughput speeds to be shipped in 2012.
This year's Consumer Electronics Show (CES) saw a handful of vendors like Buffalo and D-Link showing off routers bearing the still unapproved 802.11ac wireless standard which boasts transfers as high as 1.3Gbps (or three times faster than your average 802.11n router).
A report by global electronics market researcher IMS Research has snapped up the chance to make its predictions ahead of the curve, forecasting wide adoption of this new Wi-Fi standard in 2012.
"Uptake of the new standard is forecast to be extremely high. IMS Research believes that penetration in portable computing devices will be very aggressive and that it won't be long before more will be shipped with 802.11ac than 802.11n," said IMS Research's head wireless analyst, Filomena Berardi.
The standard is yet to be approved by the Wi-Fi Alliance, though IMS expects approval to come in mid-2012, with following retail products hitting stores in the fourth quarter.
The prediction of the market sees three million devices shipping this year, with over 400 million to be shipped in 2016.
802.11ac has multiple benefits compared to the current 802.11n, including three times faster transmission rates, channel bandwidths of 80 MHz and 160 MHz ahead of the max 40 MHz of -n, support for eight spatial streams as opposed to the four supported by -n, and the ability to operate in the 5 GHz spectrum to avoid interference.
Just as current routers are backwards compatible with previous Wi-Fi standards, so too are the new breed of routers like Buffalo's 802.11ac shown at CES.
Smartphones were left out of this year's keen prediction for 802.11ac uptake:
"As for use in smartphones, although 802.11ac is an interesting proposition, we believe it might be 2014 before we see the first 802.11ac-enabled smartphone. This is mainly as a result of its higher cost and also footprint issues. However, with users demanding higher throughput and wider bandwidths for specific applications, 802.11ac will eventually have a huge impact on this market and many others!"