Determining the Likeliness for
ROI"> Relatively aggressive ROI targets are consistent considering that, for the most part, companies are tending to purchase less expensive wireless technol ogies such as notebooks, devices and WLAN cards. WLAN and other wireless technologies are more cost effective and efficient in environments where people are highly mobile, yet in constant need of real-time data and/or network access. Companies with highly mobile employees place higher priority on such benefits. A lot more can be accomplished in meetings, given the way they work, and a lot less paper could be used, making such purchases easier to justify on an ROI basis. Companies that are looking to install full-scale wireless infrastructure, and would therefore need to replace thousands of desktops, would find wireless networks more difficult to justify. Justifying the time and cost for further wireless access and infrastructure upgrades is even tougher to do considering that there are less expensive wireless solutions such as cell phones, text pagers, Blackberries and wireless PDAs. Replacing fixed networks with wireless in large companies can be a daunting, disruptive and expensive undertaking. It also requires training, and potentially hiring new IT personnel to maintain new wireless networks.Penetration levels are still quite low, but are likely to accelerate as, eventually, WLAN cards will be integrated into notebook and PC hardware. Estimates vary from 40%-to-50% year-over-year WLAN chipset unit growth for 2003. The most important variable is the attach rate on notebooks produced by companies like Dell, Hewlett-Packard, IBM and other OEMs. Notebooks represent one of the larger components of corporate wireless spending. While it generates more demand for these hardware manufacturers, wireless still represents a relatively small portion of their total business. Consequently, growth from wireless (rather than non-wireless) hardware sales is limited until wireless contributes a much larger share of their total business.
WLAN is one of the few wireless segments exhibiting strong unit growth. These networks look to be in the first stage of a large, long-term opportunity to allow wireless connectivity outside the fixed office network. A WLAN environment provides access to corporate applications such as the corporate Intranet, email and databases.