Shipments of electronic products with embedded wireless local area networking technology (WLAN) will surpass one billion units for the first time ever in 2011 and then rise to more than two billion in 2015, as ubiquitous connectivity increasingly becomes a standard feature, new IHS iSuppli report indicates.

Shipments of consumer electronics, computer, communications, and automotive products with built-in WLAN capability such as Wi-Fi will amount to 1.2 billion units in 2011, up 35.8% from 880.4 billion units in 2010. In 2015, shipments will nearly double from the 2011 level to reach 2.2 billion.

“In today’s world of connected electronics, consumers expect seamless access to Internet communications, services and content in any place and at any time,” says Dr. Jagdish Rebello, senior director and principal analyst for communications and consumer electronics at IHS. “From sharing Facebook news on their iPads, to viewing Hulu programs on their flat-panel TVs, to streaming audio and video in cars with their automotive infotainment systems, consumers depend on built-in WLAN technology to get the most out of their electronic products. Because of this, embedded WLAN is becoming the norm for all kinds of devices.”

In 2011, 19.7% of suitable devices shipped worldwide will have some form of embedded WLAN, up from 15.6% in 2010. By 2015, that percentage will rise to 28.1%.

The penetration of embedded WLAN has risen dramatically in recent years, expanding from just 1% of these devices in 2002.

IHS iSuppli research tracks 28 major categories of electronic products that are adopting WLAN technology. These devices include PCs, cell phones, digital cameras and camcorders, home and handheld video game consoles, televisions, set-top boxes, and portable navigation devices.