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WLANs keep going strong

Dec 01, 20052 mins

* Studies show strong growth

If there’s one area of LANs where the hyperbole truly remains hyperbolic, it’s wireless LANs.

A research firm called ABI Research last month released a study that says wireless mesh networking will attain a “stellar” growth rate by the end of this decade, perhaps tenfold growth in five years. ABI says the growth will come mainly from deployments of wireless mesh networks by alternative service providers and cities rather than incumbent service providers.

The firm also notes that corporations, educational institutions and resorts will start deploying the technology at a campus level.

ISPs that don’t have their own facilities today may see wireless networks as a way to expand their offerings without directly competing against incumbents, ABI says. Incumbent providers haven’t embraced mesh networking, but they have invested in some mesh networking companies.

Synergy Research Group, meanwhile, reports that sales of WLAN equipment grew across all segments in the third quarter of this year. The global market for WLAN gear expanded 5% from the previous quarter, and was up 11% from the same quarter last year.

More growth is coming from sales of enterprise-class equipment, according to Synergy. Enterprise switches/controllers and light access points were accelerating, and they reached almost $100 million for the quarter. Revenue from enterprise equipment grew 5%, while consumer sales were up 3%. However, consumer sales still rule, at 59% of the market.

Vendors that led the enterprise WLAN market were Cisco, Symbol, Aruba and 3Com. Leading the small office/home WLAN market were Linksys (Cisco), D-Link, Netgear and Buffalo.