Global sales of wireless local area network (Lan) hardware hit $696.4m in the first quarter of this year, up two per cent from the fourth quarter of 2003.
And revenue is predicted to top $3bn in 2007, but fierce vendor competition will keep growth low during the next 12 months, according to Infonetics Research.
The market research firm's quarterly worldwide market share and forecast service, Wireless Lan Hardware, estimates that wireless hardware revenue will only grow a further two per cent, to $713.6m, by the spring quarter of next year, due to increased vendor competition.
But while the overall wireless Lan hardware market has held steady, wireless Lan switch ports enjoyed what Infonetics described as a "stellar" first quarter of the year, with port sales rocketing 158 per cent and revenue growing by 121 per cent.
Healthy double-digit quarterly growth is expected to continue through 2004, and double-digit annual growth is expected through to 2007.
"This was a strong quarter for wireless Lan switch vendors, with the segment showing healthy port and revenue growth," said Richard Webb, directing analyst at Infonetics, in a statement.
"The start-ups in particular are gaining traction and have been pulling in some notable customers wins, not just in the US but in Europe and Asia too.
"In addition, Cisco's recent Structured Wireless-Aware Network announcement further validates the wireless Lan switch concept, and will help boost sales."
The study found that network product vendor Linksys was in number one position overall for worldwide total wireless Lan hardware revenues, following a very strong quarter. D-Link came in second place.
While Netgear came in third overall, it took second place for wireless gateway revenues. Cisco maintained its fourth position following its best quarter of wireless Lan sales to date.
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