The year 2002 was a great year for wireless LAN component manufacturers, with sales of WLAN chipsets growing strongly over the previous year despite a very slow world economy and a slow semiconductor market in general.
This is the finding of In-Stat/MDR, a high-tech market research firm. The report, "The Wireless Road Ahead - The Wireless LAN Chip Market Today and Beyond," covers WLAN technology from both a standards and component point-of-view.
In-Stat/MDR reports that most of these sales were driven by the huge popularity of 802.11b (Wi-Fi). However, 802.11g products have started to arrive with great customer acceptance and 802.11a and combo chips will also play importantly into the mix.
"2002 could best be described as a transitional year for wireless LAN; for both chipmakers, and the standard overall," says Allen Nogee, a principal analyst with In-Stat/MDR. "It was the year that wireless LAN made the transition from niche application to mainstream technology and one in which chipmakers refined their strategies, and formed alliances and partnerships in preparation for the long-haul."
In-Stat/MDR has also found that:
* Despite terrorism concerns, a very slow worldwide economy, and a horrible time for semiconductor manufacturers in general, WLAN chipsets sold grew to more than twice the level of the previous year, to over 20 million.
* In 2003, the amount of growth in WLAN doesn't show any signs of slowing down. With WLAN chip prices still dropping rapidly, and the number of uses for these chips increasing just about every day, there is no question that the growth of WLAN will continue. In 2003, the number of chipsets forecast to be sold will
reach over 33 million, and by 2007, the number of WLAN chipsets is forecast to be over 94 million.
* Fueling growth is one giant application with a second, potentially giant, application waiting in the wings. The current giant application is the laptop, perhaps the original WLAN application that started it all. Both Intel and Microsoft want to see WLAN included in all new laptops sold, and all indications are that soon it will be. In-Stat/MDR is forecasting that by the end of next year, more than 70% of new laptops purchased will come with some type of integrated WLAN support. The second, potentially giant, WLAN application is WLAN embedded in a cellular handset and used for Voice-over-IP (VoIP). While this application is still in its infancy, the potential for hundreds of millions of WLAN chips is certainly present.
In-Stat/MDR is based in Scottsdale, AZ. For more information, visit www.instat.com.