With mobile devices consuming more content and bandwidth than ever before, Netgear is seeing an increased demand for high quality Wi-Fi.
A/NZ managing director, Brad Little, said the biggest game changer in recent months was the introduction and subsequent adoption of the IEEE 802.11ac standard.
“Eight years ago when the market moved from 802.11g to 802.11n, the adoption of the newer standard took a couple of years to take off,” he said.
Little said 802.11n adoption back then was mostly driven by the standard’s incorporation into Centrino notebooks.
The difference now is the absence of a big hardware player driving the adoption or one technical shift taking place.
“What we’re finding out now with Wi-Fi is that it is not a luxury but a necessity,” Little said.
“The increase in mobile and Wi-Fi enabled devices is placing a huge load on the home Wi-Fi router.”
With the growing reliance on Wi-Fi, Little said consumers and business are no longer shopping for Wi-Fi based solely on price.
“They now want to ensure they always have the best connection and fastest speeds to get the best experience out of all these wireless devices,” he said.
Networking at a premium
Wi-Fi routers have typically targeted the mid to lower end of the market, though Netgear has started experimenting with the top tier.
In the US late last year, the networking vendor launched its R7000 router at a price point higher than any of its earlier routers.
“Within the first two weeks of it launching, it became the number one product in US retail,” Little said.
“The US market is really driven by price, where mid to low end is driven by volume, so for the product to perform this well at the top end exceeded our expectations.”
Despite the higher price tag of the router, Little said users of today value the improved speed and range.
In addition to further investing in the top end category, Netgear will continuing to add products to 802.11ac segment.
“That’s what people want from their Wi-Fi now, as they are no longer browsing the Internet on one PC but on several devices in the house,” Little said.
Patrick Budmar covers consumer and enterprise technology breaking news for IDG Communications. Follow Patrick on Twitter at @patrick_budmar.