Internet of Things, Wi-Fi Worldwide, Global Wi-Fi Roaming

Technology market research firm ABI Research has just published a new study that shows the number of Wi-Fi enabled devices has climbed to five billion this year globally, and it shows no signs of slowing down. New protocols — which will vastly improve speeds to seven gigabits per second as opposed to the megabits per second speeds most of us are used to — are launching in 2013, and the world could see 20 billion Wi-Fi connected devices on the market by 2017, an almost four times increase.

Wi-Fi-device-Adoption, WiFi Sales, Wireless Internet Service

Most people have Wi-Fi packed devices such as tablets, laptops, and smartphones, but ABI Research says the 20 billion isn’t all going to be what we’re used to. Wi-Fi devices by 2017 could span smart devices and connected cars as manufacturers take strides ever closer to an “internet of things” type world.

“Wi-Fi continues to develop as a technology in many ways,” ABI’s Peter Cooney said, “the 802.11n protocol is now well established and has pushed the envelope increasing data rates, expanding Wi-Fi into the less crowded 5GHz space.”

“In the next few years we will see some very important milestones achieved for the wireless connectivity market,” added Cooney. “In 2013 cumulative shipments of Bluetooth-enabled devices will surpass 10 billion and Wi-Fi enabled devices will surpass 10 billion cumulative shipments in 2015. This clearly shows the level of penetration into the electronics market that wireless connectivity technologies have achieved, and there is a lot more to come as the consumers’ appetite for wire free solutions will continue unabated.”

Wi-Fi isn’t the only wireless technology mentioned. In fact, Wi-Fi is one of the least popular communication protocols when compared to technologies such as Bluetooth and NFC. ABI is predicting that all of these technologies (combined with Wi-Fi) will result in more than five billion shipments of wireless connectivity chips in 2013 alone.

So even though we may feel like we’re connected 24/7, the truth is we have barely scratched the surface. With 20 billion Wi-Fi enabled devices coming by 2013, everyone — no matter who their favorite VoIP service is — will have more people to talk to, more things to share, and more places to stay connected as the world continues to evolve into wireless.

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By Josh Robert Nay

Josh Robert Nay is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of TruTower. He has worked in the telecommunications industry since 2003 and specializes in GSM based technology. He also uses (too many) VoIP apps and is a long-time user of BlackBerry, Android, and Windows Phone. He adores anything having to do with space exploration and writing. In addition to the links below, he can be found on LinkedIn and can also be found on his website at