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WLAN Growth is Driven by the 802.11ac Wi-Fi Standard

Wi-Fi technology demand continues to increase across the globe, as more people seek wireless access to the internet and a variety of cloud services. The combined consumer and enterprise worldwide Wireless Local Area Network (WLAN) market segments increased 7.0 percent year over year in the first quarter of 2014 (1Q14).

According to the latest worldwide market study by International Data Corporation (IDC), the enterprise segment continued to grow at a healthy rate and increased 10.3 percent over the same period last year.

While the pace of the enterprise WLAN market growth has been steadily decreasing over the last several quarters, the market continues to be one of the faster growing networking market segments. The consumer WLAN market also had a stable quarter in 1Q14 and grew 3.8 percent year over year.

The growth in the consumer WLAN space benefited from the ongoing transition from the older 802.11n Wi-Fi standard to the newer and faster 802.11ac Wi-Fi standard as well as a solid performance in emerging markets.

"WLAN infrastructure continues to be a bright spot in the networking market, with mobility and cloud driving investments and refresh cycles across geographies and verticals," said Rohit Mehra, vice president, network infrastructure, at IDC.


While a stabilizing growth rate suggests the market maturing, new vertical-specific use cases and the increasing adoption of the emerging 802.11ac Wi-Fi standard will fuel sustained growth in the enterprise WLAN market for the foreseeable future.

From a geographic perspective, the enterprise WLAN market performed especially well in Latin America with its 33.3 percent year-over-year growth in 1Q14.

Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) region followed with a 12.1 percent year-over-year increase.

The Asia-Pacific region grew just under 10 percent at 9.9 percent year over year and North America -- showing some signs of market saturation -- grew below the overall market level at 7.7 percent year over year.

Although some of the leading vendors experienced flattening revenues in the first quarter, IDC believes that growth in the worldwide enterprise WLAN market will remain strong as technological evolution drive network upgrades as well as greenfield deployments.

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