Record Wi-Fi 6/6E demand as digital-first European homes make wireless indispensable

Products based on next generation of wireless internet standard flourish as the past two years results in dramatic shift in home connectivity demands

A study from operator Vodafone has revealed that households in leading European markets now consider Wi-Fi critical for wireless work, entertainment and social connectivity.

Wi-Fi Alliance data revealed that since its introduction in 2019, Wi-Fi Certified 6 products have seen rapid adoption, surpassing 50% market share in three years compared with four years for predecessor Wi-Fi 5.

The association noted that the accelerated adoption was driven by demand for high-performance Wi-Fi in phones, tablets and PCs, and advanced features and capabilities are bringing new opportunities for the internet of things, service provider deployments and dense public areas to deliver better experiences.

The data also showed that Wi-Fi 6 extension into 6 GHz has further attributed to increasing demand, with Wi-Fi 6E seeing unprecedented interest among regulatory bodies worldwide, as well as strong adoption in products.

The Wi-Fi Alliance predicts that there will be more than 2.3 billion Wi-Fi 6 products and 350 million Wi-Fi 6E products entering the market in 2022, and more than 15% of all Wi-Fi 6 shipments will also be Wi-Fi 6E in 2022. It also expects that by 2025, Wi-Fi 6 and Wi-Fi 6E will surpass 80% market share and dominate the smartphone market.

Wi-Fi is also flourishing indoors, as the Vodafone study noted that households across Europe have rapidly shifted to permanent digital-first lifestyles in the wake of the pandemic, with high-quality, reliable and secure wireless an absolute necessity and homes having up to nine Wi-Fi-enabled devices.

The study of 4,000 people in Germany, Spain and Italy between 10 and 14 February revealed that three-quarters of householders agree the provision of reliable Wi-Fi is their number one requirement. As many as four in five households where someone works from home said Wi-Fi was as important as electricity and gas, with the same number of home workers saying they couldn’t work at all without Wi-Fi.

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Moreover, with an increase of more than 68% in home working, as post-pandemic work-lifestyle patterns persist, Vodafone found that households were balancing the competing demands for professional, personal and entertainment wireless connectivity.

The study also found that domestic Wi-Fi consumption has continued to rise, with four in five households saying they needed Wi-Fi more at home. Making video calls was a key application, increasing 79% over the past couple of years.

At the same time, nine out of 10 households have attempted to tackle wireless connectivity challenges themselves without contacting their router provider’s helpdesk.

Wi-Fi coverage is now expected to be everywhere in the home, with two-thirds of households saying they valued the ability to connect over Wi-Fi anywhere in their property, and not just in living areas near their Wi-Fi router. Some 50% of European households expected Wi-Fi to be available in every room of their house.

Commenting on the research, Daniel Lambrou, head of broadband at Vodafone UK, said: “The last two years have seen a dramatic shift in home connectivity demands, as ‘digital’ lifestyles combined with the growth of home working, streaming entertainment and smart devices in every room of the house.”

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