The rapid uptake of wireless LAN (WLAN) by PC and notebook manufacturers points to strong growth for the sector, according to leading market research firms, IDC and Gartner Dataquest.
IDC predicted the worldwide WLAN semiconductor market will achieve a compound annual growth rate of 29 per cent over the next five years, with revenues jumping from $33m in 2001 to $1.16bn in 2006.
Decreasing power, size and cost requirements will lead to embedded WLAN solutions becoming the leading form factor.
"IDC expects PC vendors will shift increasingly towards an embedded approach as the demand for mobile connectivity makes WLANs an attractive offering in notebook PCs," said Ken Furer, research analyst at IDC's semiconductor group.
Gartner Dataquest claimed worldwide WLAN shipments are set to grow by 73 per cent in 2002, and revenue will increase by 26 per cent. This is set to reach almost $2.8bn in 2003, up from $2.1bn in 2002. The growth is expected to continue through to 2007.
"The initial strong growth in the WLAN equipment market is being driven by the mobile data connectivity needs of professional portable PC users," said Andy Rolfe, principal analyst at Gartner Dataquest's worldwide telecoms and networking group.
"The increase in WLAN-enabled mobile PCs and personal digital assistants will drive demand for WLAN access."
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