The worldwide enterprise wireless local area network (WLAN) market grew 6.5% year over year in the fourth quarter of 2017 (4Q17) with revenues of $1.5 billion, according to IDC (www.idc.com).
Enterprise WLAN growth for the full year 2017 was 5.7% with $5.7 billion in revenues, notes the research group. The combined enterprise and consumer markets decreased 0.3% year over year in 4Q17, but rose 0.2% for the full year 2017, indicating the market for consumer-grade WLAN remains weak.
In 4Q17, the 802.11ac standard accounted for 83% of dependent access point unit shipments and 94% of dependent access point revenues. For the full year 2017, the 802.11ac standard made up 80% of dependent access point shipments and 91% of revenues. This trend indicates that the 802.11n standard will be nearly obsolete by the end of 2018 in the mainstream enterprise WLAN segment.
Meanwhile, softness in the consumer WLAN market continues. Revenue decreased 9.8% on a year-over-year basis in 4Q17, finishing at $916 million. For the full year, the consumer WLAN market decreased 7.3% compared to 2016 to reach $3.65 billion. In 4Q17, the 802.11ac standard accounted for 40% of shipments and 69% of revenue in the consumer category. The slower adoption of 802.11ac in the consumer segment along with price erosion in the 802.11n standard are contributing factors to declining revenues in the consumer-grade WLAN segment.
“Growth in the enterprise segment of the WLAN market continues, albeit at a steadier pace, while the consumer segment is seeing some challenging times,” said Brandon Butler, senior research analyst, Network Infrastructure at IDC. “Organizations continue to realize the benefits and new business opportunities that can be realized by updating and improving their WLAN networks, which is providing opportunities for vendors and network solution providers around the globe.”