WLAN Market Growing on 802.11ac Transition

The global market for Wireless LAN (WLAN) technology continued to power forward in the first quarter of 2014, according to the latest data from IDC. A key part of the continued growth is the ongoing transition from the 802.11n standard to the newer and faster 802.11ac standard.

Enterprise WLAN revenues grew by 10.3 percent on a year-over-year basis, according to IDC. Consumer WLAN is also growing, albeit at a slower pace of only 3.8 percent year-over-year.

From a vendor perspective, Cisco still leads the pack for enterprise WLAN with a 47.9 percent market share, which is down from 52.8 percent in the first quarter of 2013. Aruba, on the other hand, is growing its share, holding down the number two spot at 11.9 percent of the enterprise WLAN market, up from 10.5 percent in the first quarter of 2013.

One of the fastest growing WLAN vendors during the quarter was Ruckus. According to IDC, Ruckus held 6.7 percent of the global enterprise WLAN market, up from 5.4 percent a year ago.

“Although some of the leading vendors experienced flattening revenues in the first quarter, growth in the worldwide enterprise WLAN market will remain strong as technological evolutions drive network upgrades as well as greenfield deployments,” Petr Jirovsky, research manager, Worldwide Networking Trackers at IDC, said in a statement.

Globally, there is significant diversity in WLAN growth rates. In North America, the enterprise WLAN market grew at 7.7 percent year-over-year. In contrast, the Asia-Pacific region grew at 9.9 percent year-over-year, while Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) grew by 12.1 percent year-over-year. The fastest growing region in the world, at 33.3 percent year-over-year growth, is Latin America.

“WLAN infrastructure continues to be a bright spot in the networking market, with mobility and cloud driving investments and refresh cycles across geographies and verticals,” said Rohit Mehra, vice president, Network Infrastructure at IDC, in a statement. “While a stabilizing growth rate suggests the market maturing, new vertical-specific use cases and the ramping adoption of the emerging 802.11ac standard will fuel sustained growth in the enterprise WLAN market for the foreseeable future.”

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

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