Intel's aggressive push of Centrino on the client side and the emergence of wireless switching on the infrastructure side are transforming the business Wi-Fi market in 2003, reports In-Stat/MDR.
The high-tech market research firm expects that 16 million notebook PCs with embedded Wi-Fi will ship to businesses this year, and that by 2005, Wi-Fi will be included in 95% of notebooks as a standard feature.
"This anticipated rush of Wi-Fi clients has sparked an influx of vendors eager to take part in building out infrastructure needed to support the growing number of Wi-Fi end users," In-Stat/MDR senior analyst Gemma Paulo says. "The Wi-Fi business market is entering a new stage, one which promises to bring serious roll-outs to horizontal businesses, not just to the tried and true verticals of education, healthcare and retail”.
Certainly, the growth from these verticals continues to drive the majority of large roll-outs, Paulo says. But, with laptops growing so fast across the business space, and with the majority of laptops rolling out with Wi-Fi as a standard feature by 2005, In-Stat/MDR believes the growth of Wi-Fi clients is practically assured. Certainly, the infrastructure market will evolve over the next 2-3 years, as end users demand those solutions that best simplify installation, improve performance, and enhance and simplify security and management, Paulo adds.
With chipmakers Atheros, TI, Broadcom, Intersil (now GlobespanVirata), and others focusing on a/g solutions, and Intel promising to roll out a dual-mode mini-PCI in Centrino by year-end 2003, the dual-mode concept has become king. Both dual-mode clients, and dual-mode capable access points, are shipping out in growing quantities, squashing 802.11a-only equipment.