WLAN market slammed, but 802.11n gains

Sales of most wireless LAN gear fell in the first quarter, research company Dell'Oro said

The first quarter of this year may have been the gloomiest ever for the wireless LAN market, with overall revenue falling about 11 percent from a year earlier, the first year-over-year drop recorded by industry analyst firm Dell'Oro.

The biggest impact came from enterprises, many of which were still reeling from last year's economic crash and unable to budget for WLAN purchases, according to Dell'Oro analyst Ben Kwan.

The bright spot was equipment based on the draft IEEE 802.11n standard, the latest and fastest Wi-Fi specification. Revenue from 802.11n gear grew 4 percent sequentially from the fourth quarter of last year, and for the first time, 802.11n routers made up a majority of the market.

Both enterprises and consumers are embracing 802.11n even though the gear is more expensive, he said.

But results for the overall industry were the worst since the research company began tracking it in 2002. For the first time, wireless LAN unit shipments fell sequentially in all regions of the world, Dell'Oro said.

The sequential revenue drop worldwide was more than 15 percent. The strongest of these areas was Asia-Pacific, where enterprises boosted investment in WLAN gear for schools and public hotspots, according to Kwan.

Cisco Systems, by far the biggest WLAN vendor, lost market share in the enterprise market in the first quarter. It held a 60 percent share, down from 63.1 percent in last year's first quarter.

Consolidation among vendors has made some of Cisco's competitors stronger, Kwan said. For example, Hewlett-Packard's ProCurve networking business gained on the market leader after acquiring WLAN vendor Colubris Networks last year.

ProCurve grabbed a 3.1 percent share in the first quarter, up from just 1.7 percent a year earlier. Aruba grew to an 8.1 percent share in the quarter, overtaking Motorola as the number-two vendor as that company's share slid to 5.9 percent.

Despite the bad news, WLANs are selling better than many other networking products, with revenue declining more slowly than for enterprise wired Ethernet switches, Kwan noted. Wi-Fi is even replacing wired LANs in some industries, such as education and health care.

With 802.11n, Wi-Fi now has the performance to take the place of wires, though it remains to be seen whether mainstream offices will go this route, he said.

"The wireless LAN market is still very viable, and it really has a lot of future upward potential," Kwan said.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags Wi-FiWLANwireless lanswirelessmarket research802.11nDell'Oro

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Stephen Lawson

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Kurt Hegetschweiler

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?