Who Makes What: Mobile Infrastructure
Welcome to Unstrung's Who Makes What report on wireless infrastructure. As with our Who Makes What: Mobile Devices report, released in March 2006, we present here a comprehensive list of vendors of wireless infrastructure equipment, from 802.11 access points to RFID systems to broadband wireless gear.
Half-a-decade ago, the term "wireless infrastructure" would have referred, essentially, to cellphone towers and repeaters. Beginning in 1999 with the emergence of the 802.11 wireless networking standard and its many offshoots, including WiFi, the number of different types of wireless networks, and the gear for running and managing them, has exploded. Today there are many different versions of 802.11 -- a, b, g, n, s, and so on -- as well as Bluetooth, WiMax (based on the 802.16 standard), and next-generation cellular networks such as 3G.
The wireless networking equipment market has also been propelled, over the last year, by the rapid rollout of municipal wireless mesh networks, which use intelligent access points running peer-to-peer radio networks without the need for wireline backhaul from each AP. Also in use for enterprise environments such as campuses and warehouses, wireless mesh networks have attracted both established vendors, such as Motorola Inc. (NYSE: MOT), and a raft of startups and young companies like Tropos Networks Inc. and Trapeze Networks Inc.
The prospect of "true" wireless broadband, running over WiMax or some other form of advanced networking technology, is also driving product rollouts from many companies -- even though the path to profitable, commercial deployments of such networks is not yet clear and the early potential is thought to reside largely in the developing world. The WiMAX Forum now has more than 360 members. According to market research firm In-Stat , the revenue from fixed broadband wireless infrastructure alone will top $1.2 billion in 2007.
In this report we focus on vendors of wireless infrastructure gear primarily for the enterprise market, although that distinction is nearly lost in spaces such as wireless mesh networks. Befitting the dispersed, rapidly evolving nature of this market, the names on our comprehensive vendor table range from the familiar -- Motorola, Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO), HP Inc. (NYSE: HPQ) -- to the new or obscure: Ekahau Inc. , Cranite Systems Inc. , and Xirrus Inc.
Here is a hyperlinked table of contents for the report:
- Page 2: Taxonomy & Definitions
- Page 3: Complete Vendor Table
- Page 4: 802.11 Enterprise Hardware
- Page 5: Security
- Page 6: Wireless VOIP
- Page 7: RFID
- Page 8: Location
- Page 9: Enterprise Mesh Networking
- Page 10: Enterprise Wireless Broadband
As with other initial Who Makes What reports in specific coverage areas, this report is intended in part as a marker and a starting point for discussion and amplification. We’ve done our best to identify all vendors, but we're bound to have overlooked some. So please feel free to point out omissions -- either by posting a note on the message board for this article (our preferred method) or by sending us an email. Please include "Who Makes What" and your company name in the subject field to help us find messages. We will update the report as necessary, adding product categories and names, as we receive comments from readers.
— Richard Martin, Senior Editor, and Dan Jones, Site Editor, Unstrung