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WLAN market still rising rapidly

Jun 08, 20042 mins

* The worldwide market for WLAN equipment continues to swell

Just because wireless LAN hot spots aren’t generating much heat doesn’t mean WLANs in general are in the same predicament.

No, WLANs continue to be one of the most active growth areas in LANs today. Synergy Research Group recently said that worldwide sales of all WLAN equipment reached $659.4 million in the first quarter of this year, which represents an increase of 33% over the same quarter of 2003. It’s also an 8% increase over the previous quarter.

Enterprise firms are now starting to embrace WLANs faster. Of that $659.4 million in total sales, $258.3 million was enterprise WLAN equipment, a 45% increase from the year before.

Leading the market overall was Cisco, with 16.6% of the market. Second was Linksys, now owned by Cisco, with 16%. They were followed by D-Link, 12.1%; Netgear, 7.2%; and Buffalo, 6.7%.

In the enterprise segment specifically, Cisco owns 42% of the market, followed by Symbol Technologies at 12.1% and 3Com at 7.8%.

Synergy Research Group also said that a couple of enterprise product categories made their debut in the first quarter of this year: WLAN switches/controllers and so-called “light” access points. Combined, these segments represented $26 million in sales in the quarter.

Light access points have fewer features than traditional access points, focusing mainly on the task of communicating with wireless end devices and leaving security, management and other functions to a central management system on the wired network.

At this time last year, Symbol owned 88% of the market for these access points, but in the first quarter that number had shrunk to 58% as start-ups like Airespace and Aruba ramped up. Similarly, Symbol owned 84% of the market for WLAN switches/controllers at this time last year, but that number had plummeted to 24.8% in the first quarter; again, the rise of start-ups eroded Symbol’s share.