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802.11ac Consumer Adoption Outpacing Enterprise Adoption

Consumer adoption of 802.11ac access points is set to accelerate drastically this year. In 2013, about 8 percent of consumer APs supported 802.11ac. That figure is expected to swell to 45 percent this year.

Enterprises, meanwhile, were a bit behind consumers in 2013, with about 6 percent of all APs supporting the new standard, according to data released by ABI Research.

ABI reported that a total of 139.1 million access points, routers and gateways shipped in the worldwide consumer market last year, and about 11.1 million of those supported 802.11ac.

"Although 802.11n devices hold the largest market share of the consumer WiFi device shipments in 2013, 802.11n share of shipments is likely to start declining in 2014 as 802.11ac device adoption continues to grow. 802.11ac devices are expected to represent 45 percent of consumer WiFi equipment shipments at the end of 2014," said Khin Sandi Lynn, analyst, in a prepared statement.

In the enterprise segment, a total of 13.2 million access points shipped last year — up 20 percent from the previous year — with about 792,000 of those supporting 802.11ac. Cisco was the largest 802.11ac enterprise vendor, accounting for about 20 percent of all 802.11ac APs shipped to enterprises.

Across all types of APs shipped to the enterprise market, ZTE was the top vendor, with 33 percent of the market. Cisco came in second position at 27 percent, with HP coming in third with 8 percent, according to ABI.

On the consumer side, D-Link was No. 1, with a 12.7 percent market share; TP-Link No. 2 with 12.6 percent; and Netgear No. 3 at 12.4 percent.

In 2019, worldwide AP shipments are expected to hit 196.5 million units, about 25 million of which will be for enterprises and 171.5 million for consumers.

About the Author

David Nagel is editorial director of 1105 Media's Education Technology Group and editor-in-chief of THE Journal and STEAM Universe. A 25-year publishing veteran, Nagel has led or contributed to dozens of technology, art and business publications.

He can be reached at You can also connect with him on LinkedIn at or follow him on Twitter at @THEJournalDave (K-12) or @CampusTechDave (higher education).

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