Enterprise WLAN market sees sharp rise in demand

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By  Published  November 30, 2006

The WLAN equipment market reached a value of US$1.2 billion end user revenue in Western Europe in the first half of 2006, according to research by IDC.

Consumer demand accounted for most of this, as it has done in previous years, but demand in the enterprise sector showed increased growth over the last 12 months.

The residential market accounted for four-fifths of the European WLAN market, and showed growth of 22% over the second half of 2005. ZyXEL has risen to occupy the number one position in the European residential market, followed by Thomson and Linksys.

Growth rates in the enterprise, including the SMB sector, are much lower than in the residential market, but demand is continuing to grow. Overall revenue for enterprise infrastructure equipment increased by 14% from the second half of 2005 to the first half of 2006. In particular, demand for centralised WAN architecture increased by 48% over the same period, while revenue for decentralised architecture products fell by 16%.

Cisco is still the most important player, according to the report, and maintains a healthy lead over its nearest rival, 3Com. ZyXEL improved its position in the enterprise market from fifth to third, with a revenue share of 13%.

"Vendor positions in the residential and enterprise markets are influenced by different market characteristics, and while Cisco has been dominating the enterprise segment for years, vendor positions in the consumer market tend to vary much more," said Evelien Wiggers, a senior research analyst for IDC.

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