Mobile proliferation drives wireless LAN growth

Summary:Growing consumer usage of wireless devices such as smartphones and tablets as well as shift to new 802.11n standard helps drive growth in enterprise wireless LAN market, new study finds.

Global enterprise wireless LAN (local area network) market saw a healthy spike of 35 percent year-on-year this second quarter to hit US$757 million, driven primarily by increased smartphone and tablet usage and shift to new wireless standard, a new study revealed.

Released Tuesday, the Canalys study noted that the need for pervasive Wi-Fi connectivity due to the proliferation of mobile devices, particularly smartphones and tablets, helped the industry grow from US$561 million in the second quarter of 2010 to US$757 million this year, representing a 35 percent jump.

"To support advancing apps and Internet use on smartphones and pads, expanding wireless LAN coverage in private and public environments such as education campuses, offices, hotels, airports, hospital, retail outlets and manufacturing facilities, generated ongoing revenue opportunities," the study stated.

Canalys also pointed out that the shift to the 802.11n standard, which augments bandwidth and access point coverage areas to support as higher density of devices, helped contribute to market growth as it spurred a "healthy refresh cycle" in existing wireless LAN environments.

Zooming in on geographical findings, the study revealed that North America and Asia-Pacific were the fastest-growing regions year-on-year at 42.9 percent and 45.7 percent, respectively. The "challenging" EMEA (Europe, the Middle East and Africa) market also grew 30.7 percent, the research firm noted.

The top five wireless LAN vendors in this quarter were Cisco, Aruba Networks, Motorola Solutions, Hewlett-Packard (HP) Networking and Meru Networks, the study showed. While all vendors had strong growth, Canalys said Cisco remained the market leader, with year-on-year shipment revenue up 35.6 percent.

Craft suitable wireless strategies
Looking forward, Canalys suggested that organizations should start developing an appropriate strategy for building and maintaining their wireless LAN environment. As more wireless-only devices hit the market and more consumers bring these devices into the enterprise, such planning becomes a "vital business considerations", it noted.

Canalys analyst Alex Smith elaborated: "Without a suitable wireless LAN strategy, a business will soon find its existing networking deployments overwhelmed."

He added that while there is a lot of "hype" around cloud computing currently, the first step in taking advantage of shared resources is "ensuring that the maximum number of users and devices can access the [network]".

Canalys noted that the hospitality and education industries will continue to outfit more facilities with wireless LAN.  "Regardless of the industry, service providers are progressively turning to Wi-Fi technologies to help support their mobile users' demand for data, as cellular networks become overburdened," it said.

The growing popularity of wireless-only devices will also mean that building and maintaining wireless LAN environments will become a "vital business consideration", the research firm added.

"Without a suitable wireless LAN strategy, a business will soon find its existing networking deployments overwhelmed," said Canalys Analyst Alex Smith. "There is a lot of hype around the cloud, but the first step in taking advantage of shared resources is ensuring that the maximum number of users and devices can access them."

He also said wireless LAN vendors capable of aiding government and businesses to the "right networking environments" will be the real winners in the growing market of wireless co

Topics: Hardware, Mobility, Networking

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