Outdated home WiFi causing problems, says IDC
Routers using older WiFi protocols are causing home network performance issue, survey suggests
Over two-fifths of home users are suffering from buffering and performance issues with their household networks, according to research conducted by IDC on behalf of Linksys, with outdated wireless routers and overloaded networks to blame.
Despite the importance placed on WiFi access, with respondents ranking wireless as the second most important thing they could not live without, 20% of all respondents are using home routers with WiFi protocols that were introduced at least 12 years ago, and 57% don't know what wireless protocol they are using.
The survey of 1,000 multi-person households in the US found that 50% of households have 5-9 devices simultaneously connected to the internet, and 15% have 10 or more devices connected. Half of respondents are streaming TV or film on multiple devices simultaneously, 21% are streaming TV and playing games at the same time, and 9% are watching TV and playing music.
While the speed and range of WiFi routers has increased, inefficient protocols mean that a lot of capacity is going to waste, according to IDC, resulting in poor performance. The research shows that buffering and performance issues were experienced by 42% of respondents while playing online video games, 34% while streaming videos, 25% while listening to music and 18% surfing the web.
The survey found large numbers of routers running older protocols, such as 882.11b (5% of respondents) and 802.11g (15%), both of which were first ratified over 13 years ago. Eighteen percent of respondents were using the 802.11n protocol, from 2009, and 5% were using the later 802.11ac. Despite the age of equipment, respondents said that they would pay on average $84 more for router equipment that would eliminate all performance issues.
IDC said that equipment using the new MU-MIMO (Multiple User - Multiple-Input, Multiple-Output) protocol, which is coming to market at present, could help to overcome performance issues. MU-MIMO is intended to provide up to 3X faster performance for all the devices on the network because each device is prioritized to connect to the best Wi-Fi connection. MU-MIMO is like having an individual wireless router dedicated to each device on the network so that multiple users can connect at the same time without slowing down the network. MU-MIMO also allows multiple simultaneous transmission to multiple devices, as opposed to routers today which can only send one wireless transmission to one device at a time.
"As we swiftly move to a super connected era, families see Wi-Fi as one of the top lifestyle essentials. Year-on-year, they continue to invest in connected devices such as 4K HDTVs, smartphones, and home automation devices without making any essential advancements in their Wi-Fi technology. This in turn chokes their complete networking experience," said Amanulla Khan, managing director, Linksys, Middle East, Turkey & Africa. "To keep up the speed and performance of their wireless experience, families should upgrade to premium Wi-Fi routers that are inbuilt with the latest technology needed for all the new devices coming into the home, and never have to worry about their network."