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Study: Home networking on the upswing

The spread of broadband is driving the growth of home networking, according to data released by In-Stat/MDR.

The market for home networking gear is set to grow from $8.3 billion this year to $17.1 billion by 2008, according to data released on Monday by In-Stat/MDR.

The market research firm said an increased number of broadband users are setting up home networks and are sharing entertainment content gathered from broadcast and Internet channels over those networks.

Cable broadband provider Comcast's recent push as a home network gateway, along with multiroom digital video recorders from EchoStar Communications and other companies, are helping make the home network a key delivery and content platform for entertainment, the research firm said.

Earlier studies have pointed out that more people are using Wi-Fi technology to create home networks. As far as standards go, 802.11b is being surpassed by 802.11g and multiband 802.11, which together accounted for about half the home network shipments in the fourth quarter of 2003, according to In-Stat/MDR. New technologies like MIMO (multiple input multiple output) and wireless 1394 will make wireless local networks an alternative for multimedia networking.

Among the companies selling wireless gear, Linksys emerged on top in the market for media adapters in 2003, while network disk vendor Ximeta cornered the biggest chunk of the consumer network storage market, In-Stat/MDR said.

"The emergence of media networking continues to be the most exciting part of the home networking market," Mike Wolf, the principal consumer connectivity and content analyst with In-Stat/MDR, said in a statement. "Many vendors have announced or released media networking products to connect entertainment devices to networks in order to share audio and video content around the home. We expect Microsoft's Media Center Extender technology to accelerate this trend going forward into 2005."