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Interest in Wi-Fi 6 laptops surges

The hardware has been in demand over the past two years but as users look to the future, the need for the latest wireless support is rising

Sales of laptops have been strong throughout the pandemic, but users are already looking to the future and preparing for hybrid working with investments in technology that can support Wi-Fi 6.

The pandemic fuelled a boom in home working and the shift by many organisations to support hybrid working has meant that investments in hardware that can provide flexibility have remained high.

Sales have continued to beat pre-pandemic levels, with market watcher Context tracking 2019 averages against the current market, with laptops holding firm.

The same cannot be said of desktops, which remain below 2019 levels, but that category had a decent August, with sales revenues up 10%.

The message for the channel is not just to keep stocking laptops, shortages permitting, but to make sure the technology can support the latest wireless protocols.

Products that can support Wi-Fi 6 are in strong demand and with the market accelerating from a position where revenue sales accounted for 16% of the total for the business category in May 2020. By early September 2021, that had hit 70%.

“This can be explained by several factors.” said Marie-Christine Pygott, senior analyst at Context. “Of course, the figures are driven by more products with Wi-Fi 6 enabled by default coming onto the market. Supply also plays a role.

“But we can’t rule out the fact that commercial organisations and home users are demanding better connectivity for remote working, management and learning. Wi-Fi 6 not only boosts connection speeds, but also improves networks when handling multiple devices – as many have in homes during the pandemic.”

Comparing different territories, the UK was high up the rankings of those countries that reported high revenue shares of Wi-Fi 6-equipped notebooks in distribution.

There are signs that some network vendors are already pushing their channels in the direction of Wi-Fi 6, with Cambium Networks recently launching a channel programme aimed at the healthcare sector.

The firm launched its ConnectedPartner vertical market global programme aimed at supporting resellers that sell into care homes, healthcare clinics and facilities, with 50 partners and SIs signed up.

“In healthcare, Wi-Fi has to be reliable and able to work with voice systems and diagnostic equipment that connect through the internet,” said Rad Sethuraman, vice-president of product line management at Cambium Networks. “That’s where Cambium Networks partners will have an edge. This programme will enable our partners to deploy the technology that is so needed for providing the best possible care.”

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