Thirsty For Bandwidth, Consumers and Carriers Embrace Wi-Fi(R) Phones

March 23, 2010

AUSTIN, Texas, March 23 /PRNewswire/ — The ubiquity of both Wi-Fi technology and advanced mobile phones are ushering in a new age for people who want a high-performance multimedia experience at their fingertips. Carriers, handset makers, and end users are embracing Wi-Fi on the handset for its coverage benefits, bandwidth boost, and wide availability. New data from ABI Research indicates that out of approximately 580 million Wi-Fi devices shipped in 2009, 141 million were handsets.

The momentum of Wi-Fi enabled handsets reflects the recognition of the rigorous Wi-Fi CERTIFIED(TM) testing program from the Wi-Fi Alliance®. Wi-Fi handset certification volume grew 142% in 2009 from 2008 levels. To date, more than 500 different handset models are now Wi-Fi CERTIFIED, giving consumers more choices than ever before.

“The phenomenal growth of handsets offering Wi-Fi is no surprise. Carriers and manufacturers have come to know Wi-Fi as a reliable, high-performance technology that’s been independently validated in our renowned certification program,” said Edgar Figueroa, chief executive officer of the Wi-Fi Alliance. “The Wi-Fi CERTIFIED program helps ensure a seamless user experience when using Wi-Fi-enabled mobile phones.”

ABI Research expects this growth trend to continue, forecasting that half a billion Wi-Fi enabled handsets will ship in 2014, with 90 percent of smartphones incorporating Wi-Fi.

“In the age of data-centric multimedia phones, carriers have embraced Wi-Fi technology as a way to offload traffic from licensed spectrum and improve the consumer experience,” said Michael Morgan, industry analyst, ABI Research. “We are seeing handset users starting to demand Wi-Fi because of its higher data rate and indoor reception benefits.”

The next major technology advancement for handsets is on the horizon — advanced Wi-Fi CERTIFIED n technology is beginning to appear in mobile phones, offering consumers increased coverage. The Wi-Fi CERTIFIED n program incorporates a broad range of performance features required to meet market needs in a wide range of applications.

The first ten Wi-Fi CERTIFIED n handsets have been announced, and given the benefits of this next-generation Wi-Fi technology compared to older generations, the migration toward 802.11n is expected to continue. ABI Research predicts that by 2012, 802.11n will be the predominant Wi-Fi technology in handsets.

Initial handset implementations of Wi-Fi CERTIFIED n technology will offer consumers greater effective ranges and improved coverage. Since data transmissions are more efficient with Wi-Fi CERTIFIED n, there is a lower impact to battery life compared to older forms of Wi-Fi technology. Enterprise IT managers will appreciate that Wi-Fi CERTIFIED n networks have greater capacity than legacy networks, allowing more users to be supported on a single network node.

Wi-Fi CERTIFIED n devices also incorporate WMM® (Wi-Fi Multimedia(TM)) Quality of Service. WMM prioritizes network resources for voice and video applications to improve the performance of real-time applications. All Wi-Fi CERTIFIED devices are also tested to ensure that they support advanced WPA2 security capabilities.

Recognizing the need for handsets to be aligned with Wi-Fi industry standards for interoperability, security, easy installation, and reliability, the Wi-Fi Alliance began including mobile phones in its Wi-Fi CERTIFIED program in 2003. The more than 500 handsets that have already been Wi-Fi CERTIFIED can be found at www.wi-fi.org.

About the Wi-Fi Alliance

The Wi-Fi Alliance is a global non-profit industry association of hundreds of leading companies devoted to the proliferation of Wi-Fi technology across devices and market segments. With technology development, market building, and regulatory programs, the Wi-Fi Alliance has enabled widespread adoption of Wi-Fi worldwide.

The Wi-Fi CERTIFIED(TM) program was launched in March 2000. It provides a widely-recognized designation of interoperability and quality, and it helps to ensure that Wi-Fi enabled products deliver the best user experience. The Wi-Fi Alliance has completed more than 6,000 product certifications to date, encouraging the expanded use of Wi-Fi products and services in new and established markets.

Wi-Fi®, Wi-Fi Alliance®, WMM®, Wi-Fi Protected Access® (WPA), the Wi-Fi CERTIFIED logo, the Wi-Fi logo, and the Wi-Fi ZONE logo are registered trademarks of the Wi-Fi Alliance; Wi-Fi CERTIFIED(TM), Wi-Fi Protected Setup(TM), Wi-Fi Multimedia(TM), and the Wi-Fi Alliance logo are trademarks of the Wi-Fi Alliance.

SOURCE Wi-Fi Alliance

Source: newswire

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