Wifi 7


[News] MediaTek Lands Significant WiFi 7 Deals, Disrupting Broadcom’s Long-standing Dominance

According to a news report from Economy Daily News, Taiwanese IC design company MediaTek is benefiting from a rebound of the smartphone market, with shipments of its Dimensity series 5G smartphone chips gaining momentum. Simultaneously, there is positive news of a potential surge in the demand for WiFi products next year.

MediaTek has secured major contracts for WiFi 7 with leading global tablet brands, Intel’s laptop platforms, and various prominent smartphone manufacturers, breaking Broadcom’s long-standing dominance in the WiFi chip market.

Industry sources suggest that MediaTek is expected to further expand its reach next year by securing orders from Chinese smartphone brands, Intel’s laptop platforms, and the primary WiFi 7 chip orders from the leading global tablet brand from the US.

With shipment momentum entering a quarterly ascending stage, MediaTek is poised to break the past trend of Broadcom’s long-term dominance in the WiFi chip market. Additionally, MediaTek is gaining ground on its competitor Qualcomm, positioning itself as one of the top three global suppliers in the WiFi chip market.

MediaTek has refrained from commenting on customer specifics and order status. However, market expectations are high for a significant boom in WiFi 7 opportunities next year, and MediaTek is anticipated to benefit from this surge.

According to industry analysis, WiFi 7 boasts faster transmission speeds and additional frequency bands. Its theoretical speed is 4.8 times faster than the preceding WiFi 6 standard and 13 times faster than WiFi 5. The industry widely anticipates WiFi 7 to become the mainstream network transmission standard next year.

In the current PC market scenario, major PC suppliers such as Intel and AMD are almost certain to extensively support WiFi 7 next year. In the smartphone market, there are reports that Apple and Samsung are expected to incorporate WiFi 7 specifications in their new models next year, further propelling the explosion of WiFi 7 opportunities in the coming year.

In the past, MediaTek made relatively slow progress in the WiFi market, but it accelerated its efforts upon entering the WiFi 6 era. With ambitions to outpace competitors in WiFi 7, MediaTek reportedly expanded its R&D team, deploying a thousand personnel to delve into the WiFi 7 market.

In early 2022, MediaTek took an early lead by launching its WiFi 7 product line, entering the ‘design-in’ phase with clients. In the second quarter of 2023, reports suggest MediaTek is gradually making inroads into the high-end router and enterprise-related applications. These recent developments indicate positive strides for the company.

Industry analysts have emphasized that WiFi has become an essential network feature in current terminal devices. However, due to the need for integration supporting multiple frequency band specifications in network chips like WiFi and Bluetooth, the crucial point in verifying product usability lies in complying with frequency bands specified by various countries.

Since different countries use different frequency bands, a significant amount of manpower is required in the testing and verification stages. The development challenges associated with these chips are second only to modem chips.

Even Apple has reportedly delayed its in-house WiFi chip development due to a shortage of manpower. Instead, Apple has shifted its focus to procuring WiFi chips from other IC design companies. This opens up opportunities for Broadcom, Qualcomm, and MediaTek to secure significant orders for WiFi chips in Apple devices like iPhones, iPads, and MacBooks.

Reportedly, an insider has indicated that MediaTek’s WiFi 7 chips will be produced using TSMC’s 6nm process. It is anticipated that the wafer input for these chips will ramp up in the first half of 2024 as MediaTek will be gearing up to seize new opportunities in the latter half of that year when consumer devices will have widely adopted WiFi 7.

(Photo credit: MediaTek)

Please note that this article cites information from Economy Daily News.


Market Share of Smartphones Supporting Wi-Fi 6 and 6E Expected to Exceed 80% in 2025, Says TrendForce

Wi-Fi 6E was commercialized in 2021 and, in addition to supporting the 5 GHz and 2.4 GHz bands, it can also operate in the 6 GHz band. According to TrendForce research, Wi-Fi 6E is designed to reduce network congestion and interference through more numerous, wider, and non-overlapping channels (transmission channels for signals in communication systems), while Wi-Fi 6 and 6E’s regular wake-up mechanism (Target Wake Time) effectively coordinates network traffic and maximizes the battery life of smartphones. By 2025, the market share of smartphones supporting Wi-Fi 6 and 6E is estimated to surpass 80%.

TrendForce further indicates that the market share of Wi-Fi 6 and 6E will reach 58% in 2022, officially surpassing Wi-Fi 5 technology. This adoption is primarily driven by the fact that countries such as the United States, Britain, Germany, France, South Korea, Japan, and Taiwan have already used the 6GHz frequency band for Wi-Fi technology, as well as the support from the two major mobile phone camps, iOS and Android, and the active deployment of related industrial chains.

In addition, since high-quality Wi-Fi in devices such as mobile phones, laptops, tablets and wireless access bridges (Access Point) require more efficient and reliable connection requirements and video, telemedicine, and navigation systems require larger bandwidth, the demand for lower latency is driving growth in connected traffic, in addition to the greater amount of automotive, IoT, and AR/VR solutions expected to enter the consumer market this year.

At the same time, Wi-Fi technology is also expanding into the commercial, industrial, and household sectors with the largest growth coming in the demand for smart home and smart lighting. Shipments of Wi-Fi-based smart home equipment will grow at a CAGR of 18% from 2021-2026, connecting home devices through Wi-Fi into a core home network and driving applications such as AR/VR, cloud gaming, 4K video conferencing and 8K streaming media. The continuous development of smart home networking technology has further bolstered the promotion of smart lighting connectivity. The appeal of smart lighting is convenience, safety, and energy efficiency. Currently, voice assistants such as Alexa, Cortana, and Siri can synchronize with smart lighting applications and enable voice commands to control functions such as the light switch, brightness, and color tone. Thus, smart lighting can also be used outside the home in factories, offices, and even outdoors.


Wi-Fi 6/6e Expected to Become Mainstream Technology with Close to 60% Market Share in 2022, Says TrendForce

Exponential demand growth for remote and unmanned terminals in smart home, logistics, manufacturing and other end-user applications has driven iterative updates in Wi-Fi technology. Among the current generations of technologies, Wi-Fi 5 (802.11ac) is mainstream while Wi-Fi 6 and 6E (802.11ax) are at promotional stages, according to TrendForce’s investigations. In order to meet the connection requirements of industry concepts such as the Metaverse, many major manufacturers have trained their focus on the faster and more stable next generation 802.11be Wi-Fi standard amendment, commonly known as Wi-Fi 7. Considering technical characteristics, maturity, and product certification status, Wi-Fi 6 and 6E are expected to surpass Wi-Fi 5 to become mainstream technology in 2022, with global market share expected to reach 58%.

TrendForce states, in common residential applications of Wi-Fi, Wi-Fi 6E supports 6GHz and expands bandwidth by at least 1200MHz, delivering higher efficiency, throughput, and security than Wi-Fi 6, and can optimize remote work, VR/AR, and other user experiences. Moreover, in terms of the vertical IoT sector with the highest output value, smart manufacturing still mostly employs Ethernet and 4G/5G mobile networks as the central communication technologies in current smart factories. However, as early as 2019, major British aerospace equipment manufacturer, Mettis Aerospace, and the Wireless Broadband Alliance (WBA) conducted phased testing of the practicality of Wi-Fi 6 in factories, and they believe that Wi-Fi 6 can be widely adopted for manufacturing.

Market not yet mature, practical application of Wi-Fi 7 must wait until the end of 2023 at the earliest

TrendForce believes that the introduction of Industry 4.0 technology tools will become more common and the degree of digitalization within companies will increase in the post-pandemic era, with 5G and Wi-Fi expected to bring complementary and synergistic effects to the manufacturing field. The primary reason for this is that 5G characteristics include wide connection, large bandwidth, and low latency. In addition, multi-access edge computing (MEC) and standalone (SA) network slicing can improve computing power and flexibility, all of which significantly upgrade smart manufacturing tools. Although the transmission range of Wi-Fi is small, it resists interference and enhances the physical penetration of wireless signals at smart manufacturing locations. Wi-Fi also reduces the cost of 5G distributed antennas and small base stations while extending communications range and improving equipment battery life.

Looking forward to next generation Wi-Fi 7, companies such as MediaTek, Qualcomm, and Broadcom, are already laying the groundwork for their forays into this standard. TrendForce believes, even though focus is currently shifting to Wi-Fi 7, scheduled application of Wi-Fi 7 is expected to fall between the end of 2023 and the beginning of 2024. Challenges remain in terms of overall development and issues such as equipment investment, spectrum usage, deployment cost, and terminal equipment penetration must all be overcome in order to demonstrate the technical benefits of Wi-Fi 7.

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