802.11g drives Wi-Fi sales

But 802.11b still rules the roost

The Wi-Fi market continues to grow, but price pressures are driving revenue and sales growth apart, market researcher the Dell'Oro Group said yesterday.

During Q2, worldwide shipments of 802.11-based kit were up six per cent on the first quarter's figure and a massive 69 per cent up on the same period last year.

However, Wi-Fi revenues totalled $149 million during the quarter up just two per cent from Q1's total of $146 million, and ten per cent above Q2 2002's $134.1 million.

The unit growth was lead by shipments of 802.11g products, which jumped 48 per cent over Q1 to account for 24 per cent of that $149 million and 23 per cent of all Wi-Fi units shipped in the quarter. Its lower-spec. sibling, 802.11b, continues to lead the market by volume, accounting for 76 per cent of units shipped.

That leaves just one per cent of the Wi-Fi market devoted to dual-band 2.4GHz and 5GHz products - slightly more if the figures Dell'Oro quotes have been rounded up. Pure-play 802.11a products barely troubled the score-keeper. Dual-band shipments remained static between Q1 and Q2; revenues were down a fraction.

Dual-band isn't expected to make much of an impact until next year when Intel is expected to ship 802.11a/g modules for its Centrino platform. In any case, falling 802.11g prices, driven by new Taiwanese market entrants, will force established players to promote dual-band and 802.11a as an upgrade from 802.11b and g.

Falling 802.11b prices had a big impact on vendors' revenues: despite rising shipments, revenues fell ten per cent on Q1's figure, Dell'Oro said.

Dell'Oro didn't offer vendor market share figures, but it did say Cisco was the Wi-Fi market leader, followed by Buffalo, Linksys, D-Link and Netgear. ®

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