mobile dataWireless network operators are turning to multiple in-multiple out (MIMO) Wi-Fi technology to cope with a “deluge of data traffic generated by smartphones,” according to a report from IHS Technology. Employing multiple antennae at wireless networks’ transmitter and receiver ends, wireless carriers are using next-generation 802.11 2×2 MIMO Wi-Fi equipment to offload cellular traffic and enhance network throughput.

With worldwide unit shipments of smartphones having surpassed 1 billion last year and expected to nearly double to 1.9 billion in 2018, IHS sees “massive” opportunity for growth in the MIMO Wi-Fi market given the early state of adoption. Furthermore, IHS notes in a company press release, “96 percent of all mobile handsets in 2018 will support Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.”

“With shipments of its Galaxy S5 starting last month, Samsung became the first company to offer a smartphone that supports 802.11 2×2 MIMO,” Stephanie Gibbons, IHS senior connectivity analyst, was quoted as saying. “Other handset OEMs are expected to follow Samsung’s lead, due to a growing need for better-performing Wi-Fi in smartphones, in order to supplement cellular networks.”

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Turning to the  Wi-Fi equipment market more broadly, in its 1Q 2014 Connectivity in Consumer, Mobile & IT Market Tracker service IHS forecasts global shipments of Wi-Fi-enabled devices in the consumer and enterprise markets will rise from 2.2 billion to 3.5 billion units from 2013-2018. The Wi-Fi forecast spans cellphones, tablets, desktop PCs, mobile PCs, home consumer electronic (CE) devices, portable CE devices and automotive infotainment systems.

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