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Wireless LANs deployed within enterprise locations could lead to significant improvements in productivity, according to new research from Datamonitor.

The London-based analyst firm believes that there are healthy prospects for vendors of Wireless Local Area Network (WLAN) equipment. Its report, entitled Enterprise wireless LANs: Wi-Fi revenue opportunities by vertical market and geography to 2006, forecasts that the global enterprise WLAN market will be worth over $1.3 billion by 2006, double its value of approximately $650 million in 2002.

North America will continue to be the leading region for revenues, although strong growth is forecast in both EMEA and Asia Pacific. Revenue opportunitieswill diversify as deployments move beyond the technology's traditional target verticals of retail and manufacturing to new verticals such as financial and professional services, Datamonitor says.

According to Datamonitor, EMEA (Europe, the Middle East and Africa) is approximately 12-18 months behind North America in the deployment of the latest WLAN technology. However, the region has caught up a lot of ground with North America in recent months as the appeal of the technology broadens.

Datamonitor estimates that EMEA constituted around 12 per cent of global enterprise WLAN infrastructure revenues in 2000, while in 2002 this figure increased to 29 per cent.

"With WLAN adoption in the enterprise increasing, there is a marked opportunity for network equipment vendors, though levels of competition will be high. Those vendors that effectively position the various WLAN standards, ease enterprises' migration strategies through product developments and develop effective security and network management solutions will have a clear advantage," said Tim Gower, a senior analyst at Datamonitor.

Datamonitor's study comes hot on the heals of research from Jupiter, which revealed high awareness but low usage of wireless LAN services. Jupiter found that while most on-line consumers are aware of public wireless Internet access hotspots, only 6 per cent have used the service in a public place. In addition to this, only 15 per cent of respondents said that they had used any kind of wireless LAN service.

© ENN

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