Enterprise WLAN Market Up 19%

Enterprise WiFi sales jumped 19 percent sequentially in the third quarter of 2006 to $392.1 million, according to the latest report from Synergy Research Group Inc. .

The research shows robust quarterly performance from WiFi stalwart Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) and drastically increased market share for HP Inc. (NYSE: HPQ). The overall corporate market is being driven by demand for applications such as voice-over-WiFi, guest-access networks, and location services, Synergy says.

The enterprise market leader is no surprise: Cisco remains at the top of the heap with a 60.9 percent share of the market. The networking giant grew 29 percent sequentially from $189 million in the second quarter to $238 million in the third. Second position vendor Symbol Technologies Inc. (NYSE: SBL), which is currently in the process of being acquired by Motorola Inc. (NYSE: MOT), saw nothing like the same bump. Symbol's sales were up just one percent at $36 million quarter-on-quarter. In third place, WiFi startup Aruba Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: ARUN) grew 17 percent sequentially from $23 million to $27 million.

Part of this growth comes from Cisco's increased presence in the centralized 802.11 switch and "thin" access point market. Cisco's slice of this sector jumped from 54 percent in the second quarter to 63 percent in the third, doubling its controller revenue. In the same time period, Aruba dropped share from 18 percent in the second quarter to 15 percent. Symbol's share fell from 17 percent to 14 percent.

Just outside the leader's circle, HP's ProCurve unit once again showed rapid growth. The firm's WiFi revenues were up at $7.7 million, up 56 percent on the previous quarter.

Synergy reckons that the growth in demand for applications such as voice-over-WiFi will continue to help to fuel this enterprise WLAN boom. The firm says that corporate WiFi VOIP phones accounted for nearly $10 million in sales in the second quarter.

Meanwhile, the consumer market, which now represents just over half the total market, saw more modest growth. SOHO WLAN equipment sales grew five percent to $553.5 million quarter-on-quarter. Synergy says that the market continues to be driven by "faster flavors of home WiFi," including pre-standard 802.11n products and 802.11g.

— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Unstrung

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