- Buyers Guide
Wireless Market 2002: Wireless Networking Gets Cheaper
In-Stat/MDR has completed its analysis of the WLAN market's performance during the first quarter. The main themes from the results include the following:
· Embedded WLAN in notebook PCs is finally taking hold in the business space. Notebooks with embedded Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11b) finally hit the market in noticeable volumes in 1Q 2002, from the likes of IBM, Toshiba, HP and Fujitsu. Agere and Actiontec, two of the main Wi-Fi mini PCI suppliers to PC OEMs, benefited from this uptake in embedded Wi-Fi.
· Asia Pacific and Europe are increasingly taking away geographic share of WLAN shipments from North America. Hot regions include Japan and South Korea, Singapore, Taiwan, Australia, the Nordic European countries and the UK.
· The high end enterprise segment of the WLAN market performed poorly in 1Q 2002, as shipments of enterprise-class AP solutions greatly slacked behind those of lower-end, sub-$200 AP solutions.
· Much of the growth in business WLAN shipments was primarily driven by low cost providers that were also strong in the home market, including Linksys, Buffalo, D-Link and Netgear. In-Stat/MDR believes low cost APs are being deployed in SOHOs, small businesses, in many branch or remote offices of large businesses, as well as in individual departments within large corporations. These APs are widely available in retail and e-tail, at sub-$200 prices.
· The residential Wi-Fi market continued to drive overall WLAN volume growth. The growth was heavily spurred on by the popularity of low cost wireless broadband gateway products (combo AP and router devices often with multiple Ethernet ports and optional print servers), increasingly available from a variety of vendors, at continually falling prices.
For the first quarter, non-trivial shipments of 802.11a NICs and APs were recorded, from the likes of Intel, SMC, Netgear, Proxim, D-Link and Actiontec. Although many of these 802.11a pioneers had announced that they were shipping in 4Q 2001, most did not have product ready to ship until 1Q 2002, needing additional time to refine products.