Wireless LAN network volume soared in 2002

Feb. 12, 2003
Feb. 12, 2003 - Report says growth was driven by increasingly cheap and reliable technology.

The year 2002 proved to be a stellar year for Wireless local area network volume growth, driven by the increasingly cheap and reliable 802.11b technology.

This is according to a recent report from In-Stat/MDR. The report, "It's Cheap and It Works: Wi-Fi Brings Wireless Networking to the Masses," includes five-year
forecasts of the worldwide total wireless LAN (WLAN) equipment market. This includes Wi-Fi equipment such as 802.11b, 802.11a, 802.11g and dual band 2.4/5 gigahertz products.

The high-tech market research firm reports that business Wi-Fi hardware shipments are expected to rise 65% annually in 2002, to 11.6 million units and home shipments are expected to increase by a very healthy 160%, to 6.8 million units.

However, fast and furiously falling prices for 802.11b equipment are expected to cause total market revenues to grow by only 23%, from 1.8 billion in 2001 to $2.2 billion in 2002.

"In 2002, security continued to be the most talked about issue on the business side, while the Achilles heel of the home market remained multimedia support," says Gemma Paulo, a senior analyst with In-Stat/MDR. "In the year ahead, the continued growth and evolution of dual-mode 2.4/5GHz capable equipment, Intel's ability to push out its Centrino mobile technology, the shift toward 802.11g as the preferred 2.4 gigahertz
WLAN technology, and the advent of new enterprise infrastructure technology, will all shape the development of this market."

In-Stat/MDR also found that:

* Many new types of hardware shipped in 2002. These included 802.11a NICs and APs; dual-mode 2.4/5 gigahertz capable APs; dual-mode 2.4/5 gigahertz NICs; and in late 2002, the first trickle of pre-standard 802.11g products powered by Broadcom silicon,

* Although verticals continued to sustain the bulk of high-end business purchases, low-end infrastructure equipment flowed into an increasing number of small businesses, as well as into remote offices and small departments of large and medium businesses,

* The increasing rate of embedded 802.11b into laptops greatly increased, from 2% of NIC units shipped to businesses in 2001, to an expected 14% of total business client shipments in 2002,

* Brisk retail and e-tail sales of low-end router/AP devices, along with NICs, drove the small business and home/SOHO worldwide market growth. Retail outlets and Websites aggressively provided rebates on Wi-Fi equipment.

In-Stat/MDR is part of the Reed Electronics Group, a division of Reed Elsevier. For more information visit www.reedelsevier.com.

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