“What’s the best wireless access point gear out there?” has to be one of the most common and controversial questions in the fixed wireless community. There are ardent supporters of manufacturers like Ubiquiti and Cambium ready to participate in a comparison war. On the other hand, proponents of LTE vouch for manufacturers like Baicells and Telrad. Then there are major manufacturers like Nokia and Ericsson constantly churning out innovations for the small but growing WISP market. Above all, the market for wireless access points is definitely expanding. This is highlighted by news of IPO offerings by Cambium Networks and reports of the overall addressable market size of over $22 billion.
Without wading into the debate of which manufacturer or models are better, Preseem definitely can bring in some unique insights on real-world performance. Preseem ingests billions of metrics daily across tens of thousands of subscribers and thousands of access points from its customer base.
Access Point Capabilities
Unlike spec sheets from manufacturers, Preseem collects real-world data from access points in all kinds of deployments and analyzes statistics at a top level to offer valuable insights. So, as part of our Fixed Wireless Network Report, we calculated wireless access point market insights on market share, connected subscriber count, performance on QoE metrics like latency and much more as given below.
Wondering who can use these wireless access point market insights?
- WISPs planning to purchase new wireless gear
- WISPs interested in comparing the performance of their wireless gear with that of the industry numbers
- Analysts or industry members curious to see real-world comparison of APs and manufacturers
Note: These insights are strictly based on Preseem’s data set that includes hundreds of WISP networks, tens of thousands of APs and subscribers. While we believe the dataset to be fairly exhaustive and representative, it’s not a survey of the entire market.
Wireless Access Point Market Share
Cambium and Ubiquiti are market leaders. We can see that in both market share by count of access points, and by count of subscribers.
When looking at access point market share by count of access points, we can see that Ubiquiti has 48.6% of the market, while Cambium has 37.9%.
When we switch over to access point market share by count of subscribers, we see a slight change. Cambium access points move over to 50.6% of market share. Ubiquiti drops to 38.5% of market share.
The market share is more interesting when access point model factor is added to the picture. Comparing access point market share by device count and subscribers clearly highlights the particular models that support a large number of subscribers.
The Cambium PMP 450m is worth mentioning. It has 1.7% of access point market share by element count but 9.4% by subscriber count.
Wireless Access Point Connected Subscriber Count
As one might expect from the difference in access point market share by element and by subscriber count, there is significant variation in how many subscribers WISPs put on individual access points. The chart below shows the number of access points bucketed by the number of subscriber radios connected to the access point.
Interestingly, the data shows that almost 70% of access points have 0-10 subscribers attached. This indicates that the vast majority of access points are not at all oversubscribed. Breaking this down by a few of the top access point models paints a different picture.
Here we see that some access point models are typically deployed with many more subscribers than the overall average. For example, PMP 450m deployments average over 46 connected subscribers.
When we look at access point throughput, we can see that 40% of deployed access points deliver less than 10Mbps of real world throughput. This is consistent with the previous information about how many subscribers the average access point services.
The nearly empty 20 and 30 Mbps buckets are very interesting and currently not explained. One possibility is that only a few of the most modern access point models deliver higher upload throughput. It is also possible that there is something unique about the deployment model associated with the access points that achieve higher throughput.
Lastly, one of the key QoE metrics to compare popular access point models is latency. The basic trend we can see is that most access points deliver service with less than 100ms of latency during peak. However, it’s important to note that a significant number of access points are above that benchmark.
Note: Dataset for this insight covers networks that use Preseem’s QoE optimization feature so the real latency numbers could be higher for traditional networks without such optimization
Are you curious about how we collected this data or hungry for more insights?
Preseem’s fixed wireless network report contains more insights on fixed wireless networks, including
– Subscriber insights
– WISPs & RF channel width and much more