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New IDC Report Claims Worldwide WLAN Market Growth Continues Unabated


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September 05, 2012

New IDC Report Claims Worldwide WLAN Market Growth Continues Unabated

By Tony Rizzo, TMCnet Senior Editor

The inevitable evolution to a fully mobile world continues unabated. One measure of this of course is the ongoing market shift driven by BYOD. Enterprises continue to see massive numbers of employees bringing their own devices to the workplace and putting them to use for their companies. Another way to measure the ongoing growth of mobility within the enterprise (and by extension on the consumer side) is to also measure how companies are evolving to best meet the needs of so many wireless users.

One such metric is the concurrent growth of the wireless local area network (WLAN) market - a market primarily driven by Wi-Fi, hotspots, and Wi-Fi access point suppliers. Soon to be expanded by the arrival of both next generation Wi-Fi and the newly emerging "Super Wi-Fi " market based on white spaces spectrum, the WLAN market is rapidly expanding.

How fast of an expansion? According to IDC's (News - Alert) (News - Alert) (News - Alert) just released Worldwide Quarterly WLAN Tracker report covering Q2 2012, the combined consumer and enterprise WLAN market segments delivered year over year growth of 12.7 percent. The enterprise segment meanwhile, had a blowout quarter, with growth of 24.8 percent over the same period in 2011. WLAN growth is also being driven by carrier efforts to offload wireless data from their cellular networks where and when feasible. Finally, the education market is becoming aggressive with WLAN deployments as it gears up for increasing numbers of students moving to wireless tablet use.

According to IDC this marks the seventh straight quarter -and the ninth out of the last ten - with annual WLAN growth in access of 20 percent. It's a trend that IDC anticipates will continue for the foreseeable future.

The IDC WLAN Tracker provides geographic coverage that includes 8 major regions (USA, Canada, Latin America, AP excluding Japan, Japan, Western Europe, Central and Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa) and 52 countries. The WLAN market is further segmented by product class, product type, product, standard, and location. Measurement for the WLAN market is provided in factory revenue, customer revenue, and unit shipments.

From a geographic perspective, the enterprise WLAN market grew as follows:

  • The fastest growth took place in Japan, with 64.2 percent overall growth, followed in turn by Latin America with 58.7 percent.
  • The Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) region had a very strong quarter overall as well delivering 30.2 percent growth. EMEA achieved this growth despite the fact that Italy, Spain, Portugal, and Greece combined actually declined 0.5 percent.
  • North America grew 25.4 percent year over year and, as the largest global region, continues to be a market of relative strength. North America represents a mature marketplace, so continued significant growth here underscores the ongoing growth of mobility overall.
  • The Asia Pacific region (excluding Japan), surprisingly, grew just 3.1 percent year over year in Q2 2012. Korea, India, Singapore, Thailand, and Malaysia all declined on a year-over-year basis and China - in spite of tremendous mobile phone and tablet growth, increased only 2.2 percent year over year.

From the enterprise perspective the WLAN vendor market includes the following key highlights:

  • Cisco's (News - Alert) (News - Alert) (News - Alert) Q2 2012 worldwide enterprise WLAN revenue grew 36.7 percent year over year reaching $498 million in the quarter - a strong performance for the company. The North American market accounted for 57.8 percent of Cisco's revenue in this market segmentr. Cisco's worldwide market share now stands at 52.4 percent, up from 51.2 percent in Q1 2012 and from 47.8 percent in Q2 2011.
  • Aruba (excluding its OEM business) grew its revenues 17.5 percent year over year in Q2 2012, and now owns 11.1 percent of the enterprise WLAN market.
  • As with most of Hewlett-Packard's (News - Alert) (News - Alert) (News - Alert) businesses this year, HP underperformed the overall enterprise WLAN market and was essentially flat year over year. As a result HP's market share declined from the 7.3 percent in 2Q11 to only 5.9 percent for Q2 2012.

The overall growth of smart mobile devices continues unabated, and so too does the need by mobile users to access ever-growing amounts of wireless data. This is true in the consumer space and especially true of the enterprise space, which also underlines BYOD growth. As the IDC data suggests, look for the WLAN market to continue its torrid pace of expansion over the next several years.

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Edited by Stefanie Mosca

Technology Marketing Corporation

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