CIR: 802.11g Good for Business

The IEEE's approval of the 802.11g standard is a major step forward for the health of the wireless LAN market, according to CIR

June 30, 2003

3 Min Read

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. -- The recent approval by the IEEE of the 802.11g standard is a major step forward for wireless LAN (WLAN) market, according to CIR, a market research firm based here. CIR's soon-to-be-released study of the WLAN chipset market indicates that 802.11g should help to promote both the demand side and supply side of the WLAN chipset market "equation."

On the demand side, CIR's new study, WLAN Chipset Markets: 2003-2007 - Customer Requirements, Market Forecasts and Product Differentiation Strategies notes that in the past bandwidth and throu ghput have been a major limitation on the growth of the WLAN market and that the 54 Mbps offered by 802.11g will be sufficient for most needs.

On the supply side, CIR claims that the ratification of the standard will lead to a slew of new product introductions, since manufacturers now have a way of ensuring that their products will be compatible with the large number of installed WLANs based on the popular 802.11b standard. According to CIR, these product introductions will include not only plain vanilla PHY/MAC chipsets, but also new value-added devices aimed at exploiting the potential for voice and video transmission on WLANs. Until now Broadcom has been the dominant chip supplier in the 802.11g space, based on its semi-proprietary version of 802.11g, but with the standard now in place, CIR believes that other major vendors will start to bite at Broadcom's market share as the 802.11b market starts to decline. Companies that CIR sees as ultimately jockeying for position in the 802.11g space include: Agere, Intersil, RF Micro Devices, and Texas Instruments and they will play in this space both with 802.11g chipsets and ones that combine 802.11g with 802.11b and other wireless networking capabilities. However, CIR also points out that the WLAN market has proved itself to be a market where early entry into particular segment is a good way of achieving success, so Broadcom's early start may prove an advantage.

In addition to these major players, CIR's new WLAN chipset report reviews the activities of almost 50 chipset suppliers including such interesting start-ups as Airgo, Atheros, Envara, Icefyre, Magis and Mobilian. It also discusses Intel's entry strategy for the WLAN market. Both the forecasts and analysis in CIR's new report are based on in-depth interviews with WLAN equipment vendors in Asia and North America. These are the firms that actually buy the chips, so it reflects market realities, rather than the hopes and dreams of chipset suppliers. The report provides all the survey data as well as comprehensive forecasts broken out by application (home networking, mobile computing and enterprise networking). For each of these applications, the projections are further broken out by standards and technology and by the type of end user product (hubs, switches, laptop, card, etc.) in which the chipsets are used. The new report offers readers key strategic advice on where the smart investments will be made in the WLAN chipset market as it moves out of its initial growth phase, along with a realistic appraisal of the strategies of today's WLAN chipset manufacturers.

Communications Industry Researchers Inc.

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