Enterprise WLAN market booming, says report

IDC reports that the enterprise WLAN market grew 28.5% year-over year in the fourth quarter of 2012.

New research shows that the combined consumer and enterprise worldwide wireless local area network (WLAN) market segments experienced year-over-year growth of 18.2% in the fourth quarter of 2012 (4Q12). According to the 4Q12 results published by IDC'sWorldwide Quarterly WLAN Tracker, the enterprise WLAN segment continued on its path of solid growth with an impressive 28.5% increase over the same period last year.

The fourth quarter was the seventh consecutive quarter with annual growth in excess of 20%, says IDC. For the full year 2012, the enterprise WLAN market increased 26.6% year over year, the third year in a row of percentage growth in the high twenties. The consumer WLAN market also finished the year on a relative high note and increased 8.2% year over year in 4Q12 with the full year 2012 growing at 6.2% year over year.

"Rapid growth with bring your own device (BYOD) continues to drive increased WLAN infrastructure rollouts in the enterprise, and is the single largest factor driving increased innovation and differentiation in areas such as security policy and application classification," comments Rohit Mehra, vice president, network infrastructure, at IDC. "The second key factor driving growth is the increasing use of Wi-Fi by cellular operators and managed service providers, a trend that is likely to drive increased volumes for enterprise-class access points over the next few years."

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From a geographic perspective, the enterprise WLAN market performed especially well in Asia/Pacific (excluding Japan) where it increased 43.8% year over year in 4Q12, as China recovered from a lackluster 3Q12 and increased a very healthy 53.4% year over year this quarter. North America and Latin America both were also solid in 4Q12 and increased more than 33% year over year. Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) and Japan were relatively weaker in 4Q12 but still both managed to increase almost 15% on an annual basis.

For the full year 2012 the highest growth regions in the enterprise WLAN market were Latin America and Japan, which grew 38.7% and 38.6% year over year respectively, followed by North America (29.7%), EMEA (21.1%), and Asia/Pacific (excluding Japan) (20.9%). "With almost all regions contributing to continued growth, and strong results from the enterprise, service provider, and consumer segments, the outlook for the overall WLAN market remains very positive, and that is further reinforced from our surveys indicating that enterprise mobility remains high on the priority list of many CIOs," said Petr Jirovsky, senior research analyst with IDC's Worldwide Networking Trackers Group.

Other highlights from the research included the following:

-- Cisco's 4Q12 worldwide enterprise WLAN revenue grew a strong 28.1% year over year reaching $545 million in the quarter. Cisco's full year 2012 revenues were $1.96 billion, representing a 29.3% annual increase, which was slightly ahead of the total market. The North American market accounted for 54.4% of Cisco's worldwide enterprise WLAN revenue in 2012. Cisco's worldwide market share stands at 50.7% in 4Q12, on par with 4Q11.

-- Aruba (excluding its OEM business) grew its revenues 16.4% year over year in 4Q12, and now holds 10.6% of the enterprise WLAN market. Aruba's full-year 2012 annual growth reached 22.5%.

-- HP underperformed the overall enterprise WLAN market in 4Q12 with modest growth of 1.2% year over year. As a result HP's market share declined from the 6.5% recorded in 4Q11 to 5.1% this quarter.

-- Ruckus continued to outperform the overall market and increased 47.8% year over year in 4Q12, even though its quarter-over-quarter growth was a small 0.7%. For the full year 2012, its revenue grew 82.7% over the previous year.

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