The worldwide WLAN space continues to thrive, and that could spell opportunity for VARs whose customers are relying more heavily on fast, reliable wireless and mobile solutions.
According to preliminary results from IDC's Worldwide Quarterly Wireless LAN Tracker, the combined consumer and enterprise worldwide WLAN market segments grew 7.4 per cent year-over-year in the third quarter of 2014, with the most dramatic growth in Latin America (27.3 per cent).
The difference between WLAN growth globally and in Latin America underscores the regional variations uncovered by IDC.
In EMEA, the WLAN segment grew 15 per cent from 3Q 2013 to 3Q 2014, whereas it grew 7.5 per cent in North America and a modest 4.5 per cent in Asia-Pacific.
While regional variations will most likely persist, sources at IDC said they expect continued overall market growth as the demand for 802.11ac - the standard replacing 802.11n - increases and as "innovation drives network upgrades".
Aggressive pricing, a faster ratification process and enhanced performance in high-density environments have fostered more rapid adoption of 802.11ac than 802.11n, said IDC.
After five quarters of product availability, the 802.11ac standard already accounts for more than a quarter of dependent access-point shipments and 39 per cent of revenue.
"WLAN is proving to be an increasingly mission-critical platform in the enterprise.
"Not only are organisations experiencing transformed internal business processes through WLAN-enabled cloud and multimedia applications, but public-facing enterprises are realising opportunities to improve customer engagement through the wireless network," said Rohit Mehra, VP of network infrastructure at IDC.
"This is leading to a robust stream of network upgrades and greenfield deployments, increasingly built upon the 802.11ac standard. These trends will continue to play out in the foreseeable future."
IDC's WLAN Tracker also reported on the third-quarter growth of vendors in the space, including Cisco, Aruba and Ruckus.
According to the report, networking titan Cisco saw its worldwide market share increase to 48.3 per cent in the third quarter from 46.8 per cent in the second.
Those results take the sting out of the vendor's previous two consecutive quarters of declining market share, but still don't stack up to the 51.6 per cent share it held in the third quarter last year.
Meanwhile, Ruckus outperformed the overall enterprise WLAN market, growing 22.6 per cent year-over-year and 4.5 per cent quarter-over-quarter, while Aruba's share climbed to 11.5 per cent of the total WLAN market, up from 9.4 per cent in the third quarter of 2013.
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