Optical/IP Networks

Dell'Oro: Enterprise WLAN Down

Is the shakeup of the enterprise wireless LAN market – precipitated by Cisco Systems Inc.'s (Nasdaq: CSCO) acquisition of switch startup Airespace in March – affecting sales in the sector?

Yes, according to research firm the Dell'Oro Group, which says the enterprise WiFi sector saw a 6 percent decline in the first quarter of 2005 (see Enterprise WLAN Sales Fall 6%).

"Product and strategic transition issues among vendors caused the enterprise WLAN market to decline for the second consecutive quarter," says Greg Collins, senior director of wireless LAN research at Dell'Oro, in a prepared statement. He continued:

    "With Cisco announcing the acquisition of Airespace in early January and completing the acquisition in late March, their customer base likely delayed some purchases. Moreover, both Nortel and Alcatel transitioned their enterprise WLAN product offerings away from Airespace-based solutions to products based on offerings from Trapeze Networks and Aruba Networks, respectively. The consolidation and partnership transitions likely created uncertainty and hence purchase delay among enterprise buyers."

Here's how the players stack up now, according to Dell'Oro:

Table 1: 1Q05 Total Worldwide Enterprise WLAN Equipment Market(a) Leaders (by Revenue)
Vendor Rank
Cisco 1
Symbol 2
Airespace(b) 3
Aruba 4
Proxim 5
(a) Total market value: $192 million
(b) Cisco acquired Airespace on March 24, 2005
Source: Dell'Oro

Switch startup Aruba has benefited from the uncertainty factor, as it climbed to #4, above Proxim Corp. (Nasdaq: PROX). But the first quarter is probably too soon for either Aruba or rival Trapeze to be showing any major bump in sales from their respective OEM deals, which both happened in late March (see Trapeze Swings With Nortel and Aruba Allies With Alcatel ).

It will also be instructive to compare Dell'Oro's numbers with the data from the some of the other major firms that track the wireless LAN market, such as Synergy Research Group Inc., which tends to be a bit more sunny in its outlook than Dell'Oro or Infonetics Research Inc. (see Enterprise Sales Soar in '04).

— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Unstrung

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