Study says burgeoning wireless lan market to continue growth

Forecasted to more than triple in revenues by 2003, the wireless local area network (lan) market is poised for excellent growth and intense competition. Product interoperability brought on by vendor compliance with the ieee 802.11 standard is one of the primary drivers of the expansion market.

Patrick McLaughlin

Forecasted to more than triple in revenues by 2003, the wireless local area network (lan) market is poised for excellent growth and intense competition. Product interoperability brought on by vendor compliance with the ieee 802.11 standard is one of the primary drivers of the expansion market.

According to U.S. Wireless LAN Markets, a new research report from Frost & Sullivan (Mountain View, CA), short-term survival in this market will require companies to focus on improving their products. Reaching $187.1 million in revenues in 1996, the market grew 45% over 1995 results. The market is expected to reach $697.7 million by 2003, with a projected compound annual growth rate of 20.7%.

According to James Smith, an information-technology industry analyst, vendors must incorporate standards, develop products with faster data rates, and join interoperability alliances. "But to flourish over the long term," he adds, "companies must focus on the market and on customer requirements. Promoting the benefits of wireless lan technologies while fulfilling customer needs will be the winning strategy."

Retail, transportation, and warehousing were among the first industries to use wireless lan systems, but Frost & Sullivan says growth in these markets is slowing. Health care and education are growing sectors. The report also says that vendors that focus on these sectors will enjoy the best growth opportunities.

The Frost & Sullivan report, which is available for $2950, indicates that the wireless lan market is competitive and notes that several new companies have entered it. The report says that the passage of ieee 802.11 pushes vendors toward interoperable products and that these combined factors are increasing the intensity of competition in the market.

Frost & Sullivan states that three companies--Lucent Technologies (Murray Hill, NJ), Proxim Inc. (Mountain View, CA), and Aironet Wireless Communications Inc. (Fairlawn, OH)--control 59% of the wireless lan market. A few second-tier companies--Digital Equipment Corp. (Maynard, MA), Symbol Technologies Inc. (Holtsville, NY), and Windata Inc. (Littleton, MA)--are battling to accumulate market share. The market is rounded off by third-tier companies, many of which are start-ups.

The technologies reviewed in U.S. Wireless LAN Markets include access points, adapters, bridges, campus networks, direct-sequence spread-spectrum technology, direct-sequence/pulse position modulation technology, frequency-hopping spread-spectrum technology, and network-interface cards.

For more information, browse Frost & Sullivan`s Web site at www.frost. com.

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