Global Wi-Fi hardware sales clocked up healthy nine per cent growth to $784.5m between the second and third quarters of 2004, newly published market research has revealed.
According to Infonetics, the key driver behind growing Wi-Fi adoption is the increasing demand for data mobility.
The analyst firm's quarterly market share service predicts over 84 million Wi-Fi hardware units to ship in 2007, a healthy five-year compound annual growth rate of 37 per cent, and 252 per cent higher than 2003.
Wi-Fi hardware revenue is forecast to top $3.7bn in 2007, 49 per cent more than in 2003, the study predicts.
Infonetics said that, although units will continue to grow over the next year, ASPs will be eroded by increased vendor competition.
This will result in flat or marginally decreased revenue in all but a few market segments, most notably the Wi-Fi switch segment which is growing strongly.
"Wi-Fi switch revenue and ports grew phenomenally in the third quarter (80 per cent and 127 per cent respectively)," said Richard Webb, directing analyst at Infonetics, and author of the report.
"While this is in large part due to low base figures from the previous quarter, this young market segment has great potential.
"We are seeing increasing market traction for several vendors such as Airespace, which is showing sequential quarterly revenue growth. We forecast strong quarterly port and revenue growth through 2007.
"The consumer, enterprise, and public Wi-Fi hotspot segments together will drive overall growth in wireless Lan hardware over the coming five-year period, especially the consumer segment which is on fire."
The study revealed that Cisco maintained the lead it gained in the previous quarter, with 16 per cent of worldwide wireless Lan hardware revenue, while Linksys held second place with 13 per cent.
Access points account for about two-thirds of wireless Lan hardware revenue, NICs for less than a quarter, and security gateways and wireless Lan switch and aggregation products make up the balance.
Worldwide standalone access point revenue was up six per cent from the second quarter, and service provider/enterprise AP revenue was up nine per cent. But SoHo/consumer standalone AP revenue was down six per cent as consumers moved to more flexible wireless routers and gateways.
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