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Report: Demand To Grow For Fatter Wireless Pipes

Wireless bandwidth requirements for the typical home equipped with a broadband modem and a wireless network will grow from less than 3Mbps in 2004 to more like 57Mbps in 2009, but some households will require up to 84 Mbps, according to a Jupiter Research forecast.

Demand for a fatter wireless pipe will be driven by the growth of networked consumer electronics and “changing consumption patterns for digital media at home,” the report said.

In 2004, about 7.5 million U.S. households had a home network that is at least partly wireless, but that will rise to 34.3 million by 2009, the company said.

For now, the top reason that consumers install a wireless network is Internet-access sharing, but new uses of wireless networks, including the streaming of PC-based music to a home stereo, “are experiencing a quick uptake,” Jupiter said. “Streaming content will represent one of the biggest shifts in behavior as consumers move away from unlinked distributed devices to centralized storage, management and synchronization of media centers,” the company said.

Added Julie Ask, a Jupiter research director, “The number of consumer electronics devices using a wireless network in the home could explode over the next five years, driving bandwidth requirements beyond today’s offerings.”

To exploit this trend, said senior research VP David Schatsky, “consumer electronics manufacturers will increasingly need to conceive of their products as always-on nodes in a wireless network.” In addition, “vendors of wireless networking gear will need to adapt their products for a role as consumer electronics and digital media enablers.”