Wi-Fi is fast moving beyond its initial role as an overlay to traditional wired local area networks (Lans) and becoming an integral business networking technology in its own right.
A recent survey by In-Stat/MDR found that this is particularly evident when comparing survey respondents whose businesses have deployed wireless Lans with those whose businesses are planning to do so in the near future.
Respondents indicated that planned wireless Lans will be accessible to a larger percentage of employees, and consist of a greater number of access points than current wireless Lans.
Respondents are also planning larger budgets for future wireless Lan deployments, compared to the mean capital expenditure budgets for current deployments.
However, it is "strongly evident" that security is the top concern among all the segments of survey respondents, and should be a top concern for wireless Lan equipment vendors, according to In-Stat/MDR analyst Sam Lucero.
Security concerns were cited as the top reason for respondents not to deploy wireless Lans in their networks, narrowly edging out 'no need for wireless Lans'.
Not surprisingly, these respondents cited enhanced security as the top consideration for vendors attempting to change users' minds about not deploying wireless Lans.
Likewise, security was the top concern of respondents who have already deployed wireless Lans, and was by far the top concern for those considering wireless Lans in the future.
In-Stat/MDR also found that vendors such as Linksys, D-Link and Netgear, which traditionally focus on consumer and SoHo networking and consumer electronics equipment, have been successful in penetrating even enterprise businesses.
And looking ahead to future wireless Lan purchases, Linksys, D-Link and Netgear are among the key vendors that respondents are actively considering as equipment suppliers, the study found.
Basic network access was by far the most popular use for wireless Lan connectivity.
A majority of respondents who have deployed wireless Lans indicated that they have already implemented voice over wireless Lan or intend to do so in the future.
Wi-Fi/cellular integration in particular will be a "tremendous growth" opportunity for voice over wireless Lan in business, the analyst firm predicted.
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