802.11ac adoption in IP STBs set to skyrocket

Michelle Clancy | 05 June 2014

802.11n dual-mode and 2x2 MIMO are currently the most widely-used Wi-Fi technologies on IP set-top boxes (STBs), though 802.11ac will show the biggest gains going forward, research has revealed. In fact, the standard is expected to grow from installations on 6% of boxes today to a whopping 67% next year.

"For set-top box (STB) vendors, the challenge is finding the right balance between adding new technologies and features while reducing costs to meet service providers' demands and remain competitive," said Jeff Heynen, principal analyst for broadband access and pay-TV at Infonetics Research. "To do so, vendors need to build standard solutions instead of custom ones for each service provider," advises

Remote programming via tablet or mobile device heads the list of IP STB applications, rated highly by 67% of respondents, up 6 percentage points from last year's survey. Operator respondents also rated TR-069 for remote device/service-level management, and hard drive for integrated DVR support as the top IP STB features.

"Adapting IP STB offerings for targeted markets is another factor," added Heynen. "In China and India, low-cost IP STBs with fewer features, lower functionality, and more localised content are enough to meet customers' needs, but in North America and Western Europe, there's a growing appetite for more advanced STBs, like video gateways, which require a higher bill-of-materials cost and the addition of more advanced features."

Infonetics said that the top three IP STB suppliers currently installed by respondents are Arris/Motorola, Cisco and Amino Networks.