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WLAN Market Grows to $5.7B in 2017

802.11ac now dominates port shipments and revenues, though though consumer adopting lags behind enterprise.

 By Sean Michael Kerner | Posted Mar 5, 2018
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Wireless LAN (WLAN) is still a moderately growing market, according to research firm IDC.

IDC reported that in the fourth quarter of 2017, global WLAN revenues came in at $1.5 billion, for a 6.5 percent year-over-year increase. For the full year, IDC reported WLAN revenues of $5.7 billion, for a 5.7 percent increase over 2016.

"Latin America and Asia/Pacific are setting the pace for growth in the WLAN market as those regions continue to upgrade to 802.11ac infrastructures with individual countries in the regions at different stages of technology maturity," Petr Jirovsky, research manager, Worldwide Networking Trackers at IDC, stated. "Overall, IDC forecasts moderate growth in the coming years for the entire enterprise WLAN market."

While the overall WLAN market is growing, it is not growing uniformly across different market segments. All of the growth for WLAN revenues is coming from enterprises, as the consumer WLAN market is actually in a state of decline.

IDC reported that in fourth quarter, consumer WLAN revenues were $916 million, for a 9.8 percent year-over-year decline. For the full year, consumer WLAN revenues came in at $3.65 billion, for a 7.3 percent decline over 2016.

802.11ac

The 802.11ac standard is the dominant speed in WLAN today, representing the majority of port shipments and revenues.

802.11ac was first formally certified by the Wi-Fi Alliance in June 2013. The 802.11ac standard was accelerated in January 2014 with an update that enables the Wi-Fi standard to deliver up to 7 Gbps of wireless throughput.

IDC reported that in the fourth quarter of 2017, 802.11ac accounted for 94 percent of dependent access point revenues. For the full year, 802.11ac represented 91 percent of revenues in 2017.

The statistics for consumer adoption of 802.11ac are a little lower, with 69 percent of consumer WLAN revenues coming from the latest Wi-Fi standard. According to IDC, it is the slower adoption of 802.11ac in the consumer segment that is a leading contributor to lagging consumer WLAN revenue growth.

Vendors

Cisco continues to lead the WLAN market, holding 43.6 percent of market share, according to IDC.

The Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) Aruba division trails Cisco with a 14.9 percent WLAN revenue market share for 2017, followed by Arris/Ruckus at 5.9 percent market share.

4Q17 WLAN IDC

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at EnterpriseNetworkingPlanet and InternetNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.

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