IDC Finds WLAN Market Poised For Strong Comeback

Good news for enterprise WLAN customers. Even during  the ongoing global recession that broke out in 2009, the global WLAN market saw a relatively minor revenue decline, and is poised for a comeback in 2010, driven by enterprise demand for greater efficiency and user productivity. Market research group IDC predicts the market will grow 23 percent year-to-year, jumping from $1.7 billion in 2009 to $2.1 billion this year. WLAN channel partners are expected to play a crucial role in expanding the global market, due to the widely varying levels of technical expertise needed to deploy the technology across different regions.

Unlike other markets that were ravaged by the recession, economic uncertainty and the structural causes of the downturn did not change the fundamental drivers for the growth of wireless in the enterprise, said Rohit Mehra, director, Enterprise Communications Infrastructure at IDC. New applications, new devices and new verticals are all contributing to the organic growth of Wi-Fi across all regions. The report also found that enterprise network managers are beginning to see WLAN functionality as increasingly essential instead of just nice to have. IDC expects the rise in WLAN adoption to create a corresponding drop-off in demand for Ethernet switch ports this year as well.

Overall, the rate of 802.11n deployments is accelerating this year. The n variant is clearly finding traction; 57.5 percent of all access points support the latest 802.11 technology. Support for Power over Ethernet is another attractive feature for network managers, prompting them to go forward with network expansions, upgrades and greenfield rollouts.

More and more customers are demanding resilient, intelligent, scalable, and adaptive wireless network infrastructures, Mehra continued. They are gearing up for widespread deployments across the boardnot just in the carpeted areas of enterprise and in the education market segment, but in widespread applications across major verticals. Expect key markets in retail, manufacturing and services to rebound somewhat, as well as ongoing relative sales strength in education, healthcare and the public sector to push overall growth.

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