Wi-Fi still rules the roost

The number of consumer electronics devices connected to the home network is continuing to grow, and while technologies such as powerline and coax are making inroads, Wi-Fi connections remain the dominant technology, according to a new report from ABI Research.

Connected consumer electronics devices are an "important part" of the emerging and quickly growing home media network, the report adds, with consumers becoming more comfortable with the idea of delivering audio and video throughout the home on a variety of devices. These are named as including HDTVs, video game consoles, networked music receivers, and more.

However, as these components are frequently scattered throughout the home, away from the router, wired connections are described as not often being practical. As a result, Wi-Fi connections in consumer electronics devices are expected to rise from 113mn in 2008 to over 258mn by 2012.

“While many consumer electronics devices initially adopted Ethernet connections due to cost and potential wireless connectivity issues, Wi-Fi has become the dominant LAN connection type in several device categories,” said Jason Blackwell, Digital Home Practice Director at ABI Research. “Now we’re seeing Wi-Fi making its way more aggressively into components including digital televisions.”

As bandwidth-intensive applications such as video streaming have become more commonplace, Wi-Fi has also evolved with higher speed technologies such as 802.11n. Ethernet will remain a strong second place technology, as it is often integrated in the silicone and does no add a significant amount on the bill of material costs. Over time however, powerline, coax and high-speed wireless connections will show growth in adoption, especially among service providers, according to the report.