Metric: WiFi equipment sales reach record

The first quarter of 2005 saw 12.2 million WLAN units shipped, the highest ever per quarter. Revenue for WiFi in the first quarter rose 20 percent from the foruth quarter of 2004 to $767.6 million, according to Infonetics Research. This is especially impressive against the backdrop of shraply falling APs prices, the result of an intense vendor price war. The research group predits that this figure should rise another 2 percent to $779.6 million by the first quarter of next year. Revenues will hit $3.6 billion by 2008 as WLAN products continue to to be adopted across all product categories and across all geographic regions.

Sales of WLAN switch ports rose 44 percent to 112,000; revenue grew 13 percent to $52.2 million. Revenue is expected to reach $699.2 million by 2008. "The demand for wireless broadband routers continues unabated, driven by the possibilities of wireless home networking," said Infonetics' Richard Webb. The global broadband boom generates increasing demand for wireless broadband routers, which saw an impressiver 34 percent increase in revenue between the fourth quarter of 2004 and the first quarter of 2005 (reaching $328 million) and a 37 percent increase in unit shipments to reach 6 million in the first quarter. This growth trend will only intensify in the remainder of 2005 as MIMO, extended range capabilities, and VoIP will spur replacement purchasing, making the wireless broadband router market even hotter.

The report pointed to the adoption of media downloads and file-sharing applications by consumers as driving demand among broadband users. "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," Webb said.

Among the report's findings:

  • Cisco continues to be the leader in worldwide WLAN revenue with 17 percent market share following its fourth consecutive $100-million-plus quarter.
  • D-Link climbed to second place, passing Cisco-Linksys, which dropped to third, followed by Netgear.
  • Behind the four leading vendors, all others -- inclouding Buffalo, Symbol, 3Com, and ZyXEL -- list in single-digit percentages of worldwide revenue.
  • APs account for 71 percent of WLAN equipment revenue; NICs account for 13 percent; and infrastructure products, including WLAN switches, appliances, controllers, and mesh networking gear, account for 16 percent.
  • SOHOs and consumers make up 51 percent of WLAN equipment revenue, down from 53 percent in the fourth quarter, and service providers and enterprises make up 49 percent.
  • North America accounts for 45 percent of WLAN equipment revenue; EMEA, 30 percent; Asia-Pacific, 21 percent; and CALA, 4 percent.

For more on Infonetics' report:
- see Infonetics website

PLUS: The worldwide WLAN semiconductor future continues to look promising, with sales reaching 487 million units by 2009. IDC predicts that new end-market opportunities which will materialize in consumer and mobile devices, and technology advancements such as MIMO, will drive this surge in sales. IDC forecasts WLAN semiconductor revenue will increase from $1.2 billion in 2004 to $3 billion by 2009, representing a 21 percent compound annual growth rate. Release

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