Tech Trends

Enterprise Wireless Slows in Q1 as K-12 Schools Await Funding

Growth of the wireless local area network (WLAN) enterprise market in the first quarter of 2015 slowed significantly compared to preceding quarters but still increased 3 percent compared to the first quarter of 2014, according to a new report.

IDC's Worldwide Quarterly WLAN Tracker covers the size and vendor share of the enterprise and consumer WLAN markets in major regions around the world. According to IDC, growth of the enterprise WLAN market in the first quarter was the slowest it has been in recent years, and IDC attributes that slow-down to two factors. One contributing factor is the weak public sector and Asia-Pacific markets. The other is that K-12 public schools are delaying WLAN purchases until they receive funding through the government's E-rate program, which helps public schools and libraries pay for telecommunications services.

The tracker shows that 40 percent of dependent access point shipments and 55 percent of revenues can be attributed to adoption of the latest WLAN standard, 802.11ac, and, according to IDC, organizations are making the switch to 802.11ac at a much faster rate than they did to the previous standard, 802.11n. Wireless equipment manufacturers have begun releasing 802.11ac Wave 2 products, which implement the full standard, and, as a result, IDC said it expects 802.11ac to become predominant by 2016.

"From education to healthcare to large enterprise, the increasing preference for wireless network access will continue to be seen, especially as emerging Wave 2 802.11ac will enable more applications to move to wireless," said Nolan Greene, research analyst of network infrastructure at IDC, in a prepared statement.. "While seasonality and the future release of E-rate funding slowed growth in the first quarter of 2015, we expect 802.11ac's momentum to once again boost the market in subsequent quarters."

IDC expects the release of E-rate funding in the second quarter of 2015 to have a positive effect on the WLAN market in the United States.

Further information about the Worldwide Quarterly WLAN Tracker can be found on IDC's site.

About the Author

Leila Meyer is a technology writer based in British Columbia. She can be reached at leilameyer@gmail.com.

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