Fuelled by a global broadband boom, worldwide wireless Lan equipment shipments reached record levels at the start of this year.
According to newly released research from Infonetics, 12.2 million units were shipped between the fourth quarter of 2004 and the first quarter of 2005, the highest quarterly volume to date. Revenues for the period rose 20 per cent to $767.6m.
The analyst firm's latest quarterly market share service predicts that demand for wireless Lan products will continue to soar across most product categories and across all geographic regions.
It expects wireless Lan revenues to rise a further two per cent to $779.6m by the first quarter of 2006, and to hit $3.6bn by 2008.
Wireless Lan switch port sales rose 44 per cent to 112,000, and revenue grew 13 per cent to $52.2m and is expected to jump to $699.2m by 2008, Infonetics Research said.
The global broadband boom continued to ramp up demand for wireless broadband routers. The sector enjoyed a 34 per cent increase in revenue between the fourth quarter of 2004 and the first quarter of 2005, topping $328m, and saw a 37 per cent increase in unit shipments to six million in the first quarter.
In 2005, new product features such extended range capabilities, and VoIP functionality will generate replacement purchasing, further fuelling the wireless broadband router market, Infonetics predicted.
"The demand for wireless broadband routers continues unabated, driven by the possibilities of wireless home networking," said Richard Webb, lead analyst at Infonetics.
"As more and more users explore the possibilities of media download and file sharing applications they are finding that this easy-to-use device uncovers the true potential of their broadband connection.
"And with 802.11n and even faster throughput speeds on the horizon, the wireless router segment will ride the crest of the global broadband wave."
According to Infonetics, Cisco continues as the worldwide wireless Lan revenue leader, with 17 per cent market share following its fourth consecutive $100m-plus quarter. D-Link jumped into second place, leapfrogging Linksys, which is now in third, followed by Netgear.
Access points accounted for 71 per cent of wireless Lan equipment revenue, NICs 13 per cent, and infrastructure products, including wireless Lan switches, appliances, controllers, and mesh networking gear, 16 per cent.
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