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WLAN kit heads towards £50 mark

Broadband driving consumer demand as prices drop

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The consumer wireless networking market is becoming commoditised much like the modem market before it, with wireless networks cards costing a fraction of the price they fetched a year ago.

e-tailers like Action.com, Dabs.com and Simply.co.uk are offering 802.11b 11Mbps USB adapters from £60 (excluding VAT), compared to an estimated £250-£300 such kit fetched 12 months ago, when its use outside the enterprise was rare.

A search on Dabs, reveals that wireless network cards from Belkin (£75), SMC (£69), D-Link (£65) and ActionTec (£60) are pushing price points down to a level mainstream consumers can afford.

Ian Robin, sales director at ActionTec Electronics, said that by Christmas wireless networking cards might cost at little as £50.

The wider availability of broadband is driving demand for wireless LANs in the small office and at home, he added.

David Bradshaw, Intel's EMEA head of Wireless LAN product marketing, agreed that the wireless LAN market was been commoditised as the technology becomes widely deployed.

Intel has recently announced a price drop of 30 percent across its range of wireless gateways, cards and USB adapters.

Enterprise class access points still sell at a premium but increased competition at the lower end of the market is encouraging vendors to price more aggressively, Bradshaw added. He added prices for wireless networking kit were likely to level off soon. ®

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