The wireless communications market is expected to reach $15.6 Billion USD by 2022, up from $5.96 Billion in 2017. Recent growth in this market is attributed primarily to the expansion of the IoT, and the continued global adoption of mobile devices. Looking forward, it is expected that wireless communications solutions in infrastructure, education, retail, and gaming will continue to gain popularity and fuel future growth.

Despite its being introduced back in 1997, the emergence of newer communications protocols has not un-seated Wi-Fi as the most popular wireless protocol. This is because it offers a simple and reliable way to connect smart devices within homes, offices, and public places. It is particularly useful for devices that are powered (or charged and re-charged) through electrical outlets.

Radio Type Year Introduced Radio License Required? Data Rate Range (Meters)
NB-IoT 2016 Yes Wireless 15,000
LTE-M 2016 Yes Wireless 11,000
LoRa 2012 No* (Mesh) 15,000
SigFox 2009 No Star 50,000
Zigbee 2004 (ratified) No Mesh 100
Zwave 2001 No Mesh 100
Bluetooth 1998 No Mesh 100 / 400
WiFi 1997 No Mesh 46 / 300
GPS 1980s (consumer) Yes Satellite -

The IoT and mobile markets have led to continued innovation in wireless radio componentry, particularly in combining numerous features on to systems on chips (SoCs). This gives manufacturers more control over component interactions and helps to use device real estate more efficiently.

Technology professionals can learn more about our analysis of wireless radio componentry through our Teardown Mobile or Teardown IoT Home subscriptions.

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