Smart mobile devices push worldwide WLAN market near $5B

Researcher IDC's Q4 2010 report backs up the idea that The Age of Exabytes is emerging.

Market research and advisory firm International Data Corporation (IDC) specifically cited smart mobile devices when it reported on the significant worldwide growth of the wireless LAN market in 2010. Our frequent contributor Scott Thompson of Oberon Inc. wrote last fall about preparing for "The Age of Exabytes," which he says will be necessary because of the anticipated doubling of mobile traffic every year for the next several years.

At the time Thompson wrote about that phenomenon in November, it evidently was already underway and was pushing global WLAN consumption close to $5 billion for thye year. In publicly released information, IDC did not state the exact consumption figure for 2010 but described it as "nearly $5 billion." The information comes from IDC's Worldwide Quarterly WLAN Tracker.

In its quarterly report, IDC says 2010 saw 12.4 percent year-over-year growth and the fourth quarter's growth was 11.6 percent over the third quarter. IDC says the enterprise market led this upsurge with a 34.9-percent year-over-year growth rate and 12.3-percent growth quarter-over-quarter.

The researcher's director of enterprise communications infrastructure Rohit Mehra says the momentum behind smart mobile devices, along with the continued deployment of 802.11n systems are driving upgrades and replacements in enterprise environments. "We expect these trends will continue over the next several quarters as 802.11n dominates and becomes the de-facto standard in the enterprise," Mehra said.

On the consumer/retail side of the business, news was also upbeat. IDC reported stabilization after a number of quarterly declines. The fourth quarter of 2010 saw 11.2-percent year-over-year growth and 11.1-percent quarter-over-quarter growth. Falling prices and increased interest in networking home-entertainment applications hold out the promise of continued health in this segment, IDC said.

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