Wireless switch-port sales show massive boom

Demand for wireless switch ports went through the roof at the start of this year, as companies get serious about Wi-Fi

Latest figures for sales of wireless networking equipment show that many more companies are installing wireless networks in their offices.

Market research firm Infonetics has reported that the volume of wireless LAN switch ports sold in the first three months of this year was 158 percent greater than in the last quarter of 2003. Revenue grew by 120 percent during the period.

The total value of sales of wireless LAN hardware only rose by 2 percent in the first quarter of 2004, reaching $696.4m (£388.6m).

These figures show that the market for corporate WLAN sales is growing strongly at present, as companies install access points and buy wireless switches to integrate them into their existing network. They also suggest that the rise in sales of WLAN hardware across the board has been balanced by a significant drop in prices.

Infonetics predicts that overall revenue growth over the next year will be slow, due to increased vendor competition, but that revenue could exceed $3bn by 2007. The wireless LAN switch port market is expected to see double-digit growth through this year.

"This was a strong quarter for wireless LAN switch vendors, with the segment showing healthy port and revenue growth; start-ups in particular are gaining traction and have been pulling in some notable customer wins, not just in the US, but in Europe and Asia too," said Richard Webb, directing analyst at Infonetics.

Infonetics reported that Linksys achieved the highest revenue from WLAN hardware sales, followed by D-Link, Netgear and Cisco