It might be time to add another supply issue to the list. Unizyx CEO Gordon Yang said the company is suffering the worst networking chip shortage in 30 years, DigiTimes today reported, and that it will likely have to raise its prices as a result.
Unizyx offers a wide array of networking products via its Zyxel and MitraStar DMS brands. Right now it's seeing increased demand because several next-generation technologies—5G networks, Wi-Fi 6, and Wi-Fi 6E—are all becoming more popular.
Yang told DigiTimes that Unizyx can't source enough networking chips to meet that demand. Even if it could, rising component and transportation costs would likely result in higher prices for Unizyx products anyway, according to the report.
That ought to sound familiar by now. Not just the networking chip shortage, although the global chip shortage is front-of-mind for many companies, but also the fact that transportation costs have risen as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The coronavirus made it much harder for the shipping industry to ferry raw materials, components, and finished products around the world. That difficulty naturally resulted in higher transportation costs for... pretty much everyone.
That might change this year. MSI chairman Joseph Hsu said in March that he expected transportation costs to fall as the shipping industry recovers from the pandemic, and those savings could eventually be passed on to consumers.
But for now, the networking chip situation Yang described sounds a lot like many other parts of the industry, from CPUs and GPUs to mobile processors and SSD controllers, along with other components we simply haven't been able to cover.
Unlike those issues, however, it's not clear how much the networking chip shortage will affect consumers in the near term. It's nearly impossible to find the best CPUs or the best graphics cards, and the best SSDs are likely to follow in the near future. Gauging the effect this could have on 5G wireless or Wi-Fi 6 and 6E rollouts is harder.