Driven by DOCSIS 3.0 and Wi-Fi, customer premise equipment (CPE) racked up its best year ever in 2012, according to a recent report by Infonetics Research.

Despite global broadband CPE revenue declining 3 percent sequentially in the fourth quarter, 2012 was a breakout year for broadband CPE devices, with revenue increasing 13 percent to $7.7 billion. The biggest area of growth came from the cable CPE segment, which saw a 26 percent spike in revenue year-over-year, according to Infonetics.

Based on strong EMTA shipments to North American cable operators, Arris remained the top dog in revenue in the DOCSIS 3.0 CPE segment, followed by Motorola, which will soon be part of Arris, Cisco, Netgear and Ubee Interactive.

Huawei was the broadband CPE market share leader in the fourth quarter of 2012 and for the full year, followed closely by ZTE. Infonetics said both vendors benefitted significantly from the fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) rollouts at China Telecom and China Unicom.

By contrast, DSL CPE shipments were down 4 percent in 2012 although VDSL CPE shipments jumped 39 percent to reach 29 million units

“Broadband CPE enjoyed its strongest year yet in 2012, benefiting from a combination of ongoing technology shifts and the need to support legacy broadband services and subscribers,” said Jeff Heynen, directing analyst for broadband access and pay TV at Infonetics Research. “Cable operators are gaining significant traction with DOCSIS 3.0 in North America, Europe, Korea, and Japan, and they’re in the early stages of rolling out video gateways that combine DOCSIS CPE with video transcoding capabilities. These gateways allow cable companies to deliver a whole-home, multi-screen service to customers, and we anticipate hearty growth for the devices over the next few years.

“Wi-Fi enabled CPE is really heating up. In 2012, nearly half of all DSL units sold were Wi-Fi enabled, and we’re forecasting this to swell to 74percent by 2017. The growth of Wi-Fi enabled CPE is proof positive that service providers are quickly moving to more integrated devices to control the user experience in the home.”

In the FTTH CPE segment, Infonetics expects ongoing vendor market share shifts in this year, hinging largely on shipments in China.

Worldwide, there were 57 million FTTH subscribers in 2012, while cable broadband subscribers totaled 111 million.