WLANs Moving into New Markets

Despite an economic downturn that has hit the telecommunications industry particularly hard, InfoTech expects WLAN end-user revenue to reach $4.2 billion in 2005.

Some of the credit for the WLAN [definition] momentum can be given to significant growth outside of the traditional WLAN vertical markets such as education, retail, financial and healthcare, and into home networking and public access hotspots.

“The key drivers for WLAN growth are declining product prices, increased laptop deployment, the appearance of devices with embedded wireless LAN capabilities, the availability of higher-speed products, the push for increased employee productivity, and the expanded reliance upon the Internet,” said InfoTech’s senior analyst, Shelly Tyler Radler.

According to research from Cahners In-Stat Group, the overall WLAN market will grow from 3.3 million total units shipped in 2000 to 23.6 million total units shipped in 2005. But, according to In-Stat’s report “Life, Liberty and WLANs: Wireless Networking Brings Freedom to the Enterprise“, revenues are not expected to keep pace with shipment growth, based on the rapid price erosion experienced by 802.11b [definition] products.

The business WLAN market was remarkably resilient over the course of the first half of 2001, In-Stat found, with a growth rate exceeding expectations, even in the midst of a technological economic downturn.

WLAN business growth during the first half of 2001 was exceptional, said Gemma Paulo, an industry analyst for In-Stat. The beginning of the third quarter of 2001 was strong due to high seasonal educational sales, but September sales were negatively affected by the events of Sept. 11. Paulo predicts that overall market performance for the second half of 2001 will be shaped by the early release of 802.11a products, the economic situation, the ability of IEEE 802.11g products to penetrate the market and the acceptance of Windows XP as a must-have upgrade for the business.

North America continues to grab the lion’s share of the WLAN market, but Asia-Pacific and Europe remained strong geographic segments in the first half of 2001. Hot geographies for WLAN growth include South Korea, Australia, New Zealand and Brazil.

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