By Claus Hetting, Wi-Fi NOW CEO & Chairman
Some home broadband operators may have been ill prepared for masses of people working from home, others may have adapted just in time to manage the surge in traffic. Either way here’s the good news: A new voluminous research report from smart home Wi-Fi vendor Airties identifies major untapped opportunities for broadband operators – and offers a fascinating view into the mind of the post-pandemic Wi-Fi consumer.
Some broadband networks have held up well under the surge of home Wi-Fi traffic – others probably less so – but one thing is for sure: The increased reliance on home Wi-Fi has opened up new opportunities in operator-provided home Wi-Fi. A new report released today by leading smart home vendor Airties offers a raft of highly valuable insights into the state of the broadband market and identifies a set of significant new opportunities for ISP growth post-pandemic.
For home broadband operators perhaps the most important positive takeaways from the report are as follows: A whopping 80% of the consumers surveyed in the report prefer that their operator includes home broadband gear as part of their offering. Add to this that 58% of consumers say they would upgrade to a faster Internet service if their broadband operator offered a premium Wi-Fi system guaranteeing faster and more consistent whole-home Wi-Fi.
Fortunately, consumers are ready to pay more, too. “Of those who would consider upgrading, 70% said they would be willing to pay at least $5/€5/£5 extra for faster and more consistent Wi-Fi in every room of their home. Notably, 86% expect the fastest Internet package to come equipped with a whole-home Wi-Fi system that would guarantee coverage in every room,” Airties says in their press release here.
The report is the result of a detailed Wi-Fi usage survey of 1525 home broadband subscribers across the US, the UK, and Germany, Airties says. Airties’ Cloud-based smart home Wi-Fi today serves 646 million active devices in 33 million homes across the globe, the company says.
The report also offers reams of other insights into the behaviour and expectations of home broadband consumers – including into the now predominant ‘enterprization of the home’ trend: A remarkable 39% of the respondents have been reimbursed by their employers for new Wi-Fi gear they purchased for the purposes of working from home, and 32% said their home broadband subscription was subsidised by their employer. Remarkably, 35% of the consumers asked have been using Wi-Fi for a whopping additional seven to ten hours more a day, the report says.
On the positive side some 75% of respondents think their broadband operator responded well to their needs during the work-from-home period. Data from the Airties Cloud reveals that the market penetration of Wi-Fi 6 devices currently stands at 16% – perhaps less than what many would guess.
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It is also perhaps somewhat surprising that some 39% of home Wi-Fi devices still only support the Wi-Fi 4 – meaning the 802.11n – standard. This shows that the latest generation of Wi-Fi (Wi-Fi 6) co-exists among a large proportion of legacy devices. This in turn requires a fully-managed Wi-Fi solution to help manage optimal performance across all devices and applications, Airties says.