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WiFi Bandwidth Use in the U.S. Home Forecast to More Than Double in the Next Four Years
Posted: 21-Nov-2011 [Source: iGR]

[Eighty percent of U.S. homes use WiFi. iGR forecasts heavy WiFi user bandwidth to increase from more than 390 GB per month in 2011 to nearly 440 GB per month in 2015.]

Austin, TX -- WiFi devices have proliferated in the U.S. household, with 80 percent of homes using WiFi to provide data connections to smartphone, tablets, laptops, televisions and gaming consoles. WiFi has become a 'must have' for today's electronic consumer devices. iGR's new research study, "U.S. Home Broadband & WiFi Usage Forecast, 2011-2015," quantifies the bandwidth used in the typical U.S. home and the bandwidth used on WiFi devices.

iGR forecast that for the heaviest users of WiFi in the home (those in the 'extreme' category), total bandwidth used is expected to increase from more than 390 GB per month in 2011 to nearly 440 GB per month in 2015. iGR forecasts that WiFi will increase from 55 percent of the total bandwidth used in 2011 to more than 75 percent in 2015. This high level of data consumption is driven principally by demand for video, both streamed and downloaded.

iGR believes that in-home WiFi usage is important to understand for several reasons:

* WiFi provides a high quality data connection in the home so users are accustomed to very low latency and high connection speeds. * WiFi is wireless and users, as this report concludes, are increasingly accustomed to bandwidth-intensive activities on laptops, smartphones and, increasingly, tablets. * In-home usage is a precursor to outside-the-home usage. For example, consumers who stream Pandora while doing homework are highly likely to want to stream Pandora while going for a run. And consumers who watch a TV episode on a tablet in the home will expect to do the same sitting in the park or at the airport.

"Why should wireless operators, infrastructure vendors and device OEMs care about how much WiFi is used in the home? Because today's consumers are expecting a world in which they always have high-speed data access to anything they want," says Matt Vartabedian, iGR's vice president of the wireless and mobile research service, who was responsible for the new study. "Internet and data access is inextricably woven into the personal, social and business fabric of today's life. And WiFi is setting expectations by which consumers will judge the performance of 4G, HSPA+ and LTE networks, devices and services."

iGR's new report also finds that:

* Older consumers are the least likely to use WiFi. * Middle-aged consumers are more likely to use WiFi in airports, hotels. These are likely to be business travelers. * Smartphone ownership tends to drive more WiFi usage -- conversely, consumers who do not have smartphones are least likely to use WiFi. * Consumers with smartphones are more likely to use WiFi in various locations. Everything that applies to smartphone users also applies to WiFi use: for example, they tend to be in their 20s, 30s or 40s; they tend to be employed or, in some cases, in school; they tend to have reported annual household incomes that are above the U.S. median. * Tablet users, by default, are the most likely to use WiFi in any given location. As discussed in other iGR research studies, tablet users are almost always smartphone users.

iGR's new report, "U.S. Home Broadband & WiFi Usage Forecast, 2011-2015," provides details on iGR's recent survey findings on WiFi devices, applications and services used in the U.S. home, iGR's forecast for fixed bandwidth consumed in the U.S. household, including splits by connection speed and bandwidth consumed per month, and iGR's forecast for WiFi use in the home through 2015.


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