Enterprise WLAN Market Jumps 28.5% in 4Q12: IDC

The booming enterprise mobility market is having a big impact on the wireless networking scene, to the delight of Wi-Fi equipment makers.

According to IDC’s latest figures, the enterprise wireless local area network (WLAN) grew by 28 percent in the fourth quarter of 2012 (4Q12) on a year-over-year basis. And vendors have the popularity of bring your own device (BYOD) programs, which have made gadgets like the iPad and Android smartphone an increasingly common sight in the workplace, to thank.

“Rapid growth with bring your own device (BYOD) continues to drive increased WLAN infrastructure rollouts in the enterprise, and is the single largest factor driving increased innovation and differentiation in areas such as security policy and application classification,” said IDC vice president Rohit Mehra in a prepared statement.

Cellular network operators are also doing their part to boost the market. “The second key factor driving growth is the increasing use of Wi-Fi by cellular operators and managed service providers, a trend that is likely to drive increased volumes for enterprise-class access points over the next few years,” added Mehra.

These gains point to sustained positive momentum in the Enterprise WLAN market, said the market research firm. IDC noted that 4Q12 was “seventh consecutive quarter with annual growth in excess of 20 percent.” For the year, the enterprise WLAN market increased 26.6 percent, the third year in a row of market growth in the “high twenties.”

Networking companies are welcoming the mobile-fueled demand for Wi-Fi, particularly IT giant Cisco.

Cisco generated $545 million in enterprise WLAN revenue worldwide, a 28.1 percent jump from the same quarter in 2011. Cisco maintained its lead in 4Q12 with a 50.7 percent share of the worldwide market. In 2012, North America contributed 54.4 percent of the company’s enterprise WLAN haul.

Ruckus Wireless, a provider of carrier-class Wi-Fi equipment, grew by a staggering 47.8 percent in 4Q12 compared to the year-ago quarter and revenues shot up 82.7 percent for 2012. Aruba Networks grew 16.4 percent in in 4Q12 and HP “underperformed the overall enterprise WLAN market” with a 1.2 percent boost during the same quarter, said IDC.

Brisk demand in Latin America (38.7 percent) and Japan (38.6 percent) helped propel the enterprise WLAN market in 2012. North America contributed substantially (29.7 percent), while the EMEA (21.1 percent) and Asia Pacific (excluding Japan) (20.9 percent) regions also experienced solid gains.

The consumer segment, gained 8.2 percent in 4Q12 and 6.2 percent for all of 2012.  Combined, the consumer and enterprise WLAN markets notched gains of 18.2 percent in 4Q12.

Expect the wireless networking market to maintain its skyward trajectory, said IDC senior research analyst Petr Jirovsky. “With almost all regions contributing to continued growth, and strong results from the enterprise, service provider, and consumer segments, the outlook for the overall WLAN market remains very positive, and that is further reinforced from our surveys indicating that enterprise mobility remains high on the priority list of many CIOs,” he stated in press remarks.

Pedro Hernandez is a contributing editor at InternetNews.com, the news service of the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals. Follow him on Twitter @ecoINSITE.

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