Survey: Wi-Fi Networks Faltering under the Weight of Online Content

– Aggravated by the Rapid Increase in Number of Mobile Devices per Home That’s Already at 6
– 72% Want High Speed Wi-Fi in Every Room

About 63% of the world’s homes have problems with their Wi-Fi networks, no doubt caused by the rapidly increasing number of mobile devices per home, according to a study by ARRIS, which makes home network and broadband gear, mainly for broadband/pay TV companies. ARRIS said the widespread Wi-Fi problems are “a tremendous opportunity for service providers to improve connectivity issues.”

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Wi-Fi hungry devices

 

ARRIS says the numbers, which are in its “2015 ARRIS Consumer Entertainment Index (CEI),” show “a growing disparity between expectation and reality when it comes to Wi-Fi at home” as well as “the expanding ecosystem of devices and growing popularity of str

eaming services.”

Other statistics in the report include:
– The world’s average home now has six media consuming devices connected to its Wi-Fi network.
– The average household spends almost 6.5 hours each week streaming a subscription service.
– 81% of those who stream now do so at least weekly, up from 72% last year.
– 73% of people who watch mobile TV at least once a week do it using Wi-Fi.
– 72% of global consumers said having high-speed Internet access in every room of the house is either very important or vitally important.
– 59% of consumers are now watching TV on-the-go.
– Binge-viewing has evolved into a very personal and solitary activity for 60% of binge-viewing consumers.
– 54% said it is vitally important to have high-speed Wi-Fi that works outside of its current range.

ARRIS, which gets almost all its revenue from service providers, sees these numbers as trends “to solve connectivity issues by giving consumers a high-speed wireless connection where it is needed-all over the home-through better Wi-Fi equipment and training.”

Despite the growth of OTT, the study showed that, as ARRIS said, “Broadcast TV remains king for now.”

Sandy Howe, SVP of global marketing at ARRIS, said the study shows four major trends:
1. Consumer dependence on Wi-Fi and consequent frustration with its quality
2. The concurrent growth and hindrance of mobile TV adoption
3. The growing preference for downloading vs. streaming mobile content
4. The increasingly personal nature of binge-viewing

Howe said, “All of these trends point to a tremendous opportunity for service providers and programmers to customize their offerings to these new consumer trends and to ensure the quality of the home’s Wi-Fi network, which increasingly is bearing the weight of this evolution in services.”

The research for the “ARRIS Consumer Entertainment Index” was done for ARRIS by an independent company, Vanson Bourne, which looked into the media consumption habits of 19,000 consumers in 19 countries: Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, France, Germany, India, Japan, Mexico, Sweden, Russia, Singapore, South Korea, Spain, Turkey, UK and USA.

And…

Rider Research thinks the numbers that ARRIS found show that there is an even bigger opportunity for companies that sell products at retail stores and Web sites.

It’ll be interesting to see what products and educational services ARRIS will launch for its service provider customers and whether ARRIS might also venture more deeply into the retail market than its current line of Motorola products, which it acquired.

Service providers have not traditionally been very effective at selling products that are not directly tied to their services, which, so far at least, does not include any successful OTT services. In fact, service providers’ subscribers more often not buy modems and routers at retail stores.

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Most homes have a coax network

 

Based on the ARRIS numbers, it would appear that, barring some monumental and unlikely improvement in the performance of Wi-Fi, what’s needed most are adapters that extend the reach of Wi-Fi without losing speed. Most homes have a coax network but it typically reaches fewer rooms than the electrical wiring, which not only has outlets in every room but in many cases on every wall in every room.

ARRIS has shown interest in the G.hn version of powerline – one of its executives was recently the interim president of the G.hn association the HomeGrid Forum. If telcos have shown interest in G.hn, which we keep hearing that they have, then ARRIS’ inclination is likely to be G.hn as its powerline technology. If it decides to produce G.hn products for the retail market, let’s hope they are a) priced for the mass market, b) easy to install and setup and c) perhaps most importantly, extend the range of Wi-Fi with little loss in speed.

After all, the consumers said they wanted better Wi-Fi with wider coverage, not a replacement for their Wi-Fi network. A high-speed, whole-home G.hn adapter with built-in Wi-Fi could, if priced aggressively, be exactly what consumers want to buy. However, the HomePlug crowd has had a strong hold on the retail powerline retail market so the G.hn retail-oriented folks will need to prove to consumers that they have a better way.

This research by ARRIS shows why we have been testing various wireline home network technologies — G.hn and HomePlug powerline plus MoCA coax …

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