802.11n shipments increase 'dramatically'

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Shipments of consumer 802.11n Wi-Fi access points are expected to see a dramatic increase over the next five years, rising from six million this year to 88 million in 2013..

Analyst firm ABI Research said that the emerging 802.11n wireless networking standard will become the default Wi-Fi technology.

"The real market growth will kick in when sufficient numbers of consumers have 802.11n capabilities embedded in their new laptop and desktop computers," said ABI Research vice president Stan Schatt.

"We anticipate the greatest adoption to take place in the 2009-2010 timeframe."

Schatt expects a similar pattern to emerge in the enterprise as companies replace their laptops.

"You can achieve 802.11n connectivity with adapter cards," he said. "But most IT managers don't like them because they can get lost or damaged."

Although most enterprises work to a roughly three-year laptop replacement cycle, ABI estimates that this may be slightly longer in the current economic climate.

"Some larger organisations remain initially wary because 'n' is still a draft with ratification of the final standard expected next year," Schatt added.

"But companies with workgroups that need 802.11n's extra speed, range and robustness may push ahead in a piecemeal fashion."

The enterprise component of 802.11n equipment sales will represent about 16 per cent of the total market by the end of 2013, ABI predicts.

Many vendors, Schatt noted, seem "pleasantly surprised" by the speed of enterprise adoption of 802.11n taking place already, which he attributes to the reassurance provided by the Wi-Fi Alliance's interoperability testing certification.

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