Wireless LAN market keeps on growing

Wireless local area network (WLAN) hardware revenues are predicted to grow from US$1.6 billion in 2002 to US$3.2 billion by 2006, reports Infonetics Research.

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By  Zoe Moleshead Published  October 8, 2003

The continued momentum in the wireless local area network (WLAN) and public hotspot space is fuelling hardware revenue growth. According to figures from Infonetics Research, the market will grow from US$1.6 billion in 2002 to US$3.2 billion by 2006.

However, the growth is described by Infonetics as "slow and steady." The research group says the rate of growth will remain largely in single digits, especially over the next year.

"Wireless LANs will continue to show solid growth in all enterprise markets in upcoming quarters, and access point products in particular will increasingly be designed to target either of these markets, with vendors beginning to differentiate between large and small/medium enterprise products, and carrier-class access points for hotspots," says Richard Webb, lead analyst, Infonetics Research.

"Wireless broadband gateways, which wirelessly enable cable/DSL connections, will also continue healthy growth, driven simultaneously by telecommuting for enterprises and multimedia entertainment applications, such as online gaming, for consumers," he continues.

The hotspot space will also contribute increasingly to growth in the hardware market as service providers increasingly rollout public wireless services to boost their subscription fees.

"The service provider public access hotspot market will accelerate slowly through CY03," confirms Webb. "It's a small market now, but hotspots are gaining rapid acceptance as an inexpensive way for service providers to drive service subscriptions for an increasingly mobile yet data-reliant workforce. Numerous service providers have indicated their intent to roll out hotspots, spurred on by advances in subscriber and network management systems," he adds.

Consumers and enterprises are also equally investing in wireless hardware, according to Infonetics. Each market contributed a 45% share of the spending, followed by the service providers with the remaining 10%.
Cisco holds the dominant position in terms if vendor share, the networking giant took 14% of the market, while its newly acquired division Linksys, accounted for another 14% of the market.

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