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Optical/IP

Enterprise = WLAN Action

Predicting that the overall 802.11 equipment market will be worth $3.8 billion by 2009, Research firm Infonetics Research Inc. says that the enterprise market in particular is set to thrive, with revenue jumping 120 percent between 2005 and 2009.

Worldwide wireless LAN equipment revenue dropped 5 percent in the fourth quarter of last year to $591 million, but topped $2.4 billion overall in 2005, a 10 percent increase over 2004, according to the newly released report from Infonetics.

"The enterprise segment is where the action is,” says Infonetics analyst Richard Webb in a statement. The researchers claim that wireless LAN switches and controllers are becoming increasingly important for businesses and predict "double-digit annual revenue growth through 2009" for that particular sector.

According to a similar report put out recently by Synergy Research Group Inc. , however, traditional standalone access points still represent the majority of enterprise sales at the moment.

Synergy says that standalone enterprise access points surpassed a billion dollars in sales for the first time in 2005.

Rival researcher Infonetics reports that in 2005, access points accounted for 81 percent of overall WiFi equipment revenue, and WLAN switches and controllers accounted for 19 percent, but that the newer category of 802.11 infrastructure will represent 44 percent of the market by 2009.

The leader in the overall enterprise wireless LAN market is no surprise. Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) is the clear leader, followed by Symbol Technologies Inc. (NYSE: SBL) and then 3Com Corp. (Nasdaq: COMS).

Infonetics says, however, that Cisco -- bolstered by its Airespace acquisition -- is now shipping more 802.11 switches and controllers than Symbol, which had long held the top spot in this sector of the market.

— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Unstrung

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