Wi-Fi Surpasses $1B in Quarterly Revenues

By Carol Ellison  |  Posted 2004-08-26 Print this article Print

Researchers at In-Stat/MDR report that the world market for Wi-Fi hardware is going the way of Ethernet, with embedded adapters supplanting add-in cards.

Researchers at In-Stat/MDR reported this week that the Wi-Fi market has experienced five years of healthy growth since 802.11b emerged as the dominant wireless standard. Scottsdale, Ariz.-based In-Stat/MDR reported that the world market for Wi-Fi hardware surpassed $1 billion in quarterly revenues by the fourth quarter of 2003. The researchers said the market is undergoing a shift similar to the one experienced in the Ethernet market as that technology grew. Researchers found that embedded mini PCI Wi-Fi adapter cards are displacing Wi-Fi PC cards in the market.
"We used to have Ethernet cards, and now Ethernet is in everything," In-Stat/MDR analyst Norm Bogen said.
Researchers said they expect the trend to continue over the next five years, projecting that the number of embedded Wi-Fi clients—including mobile PCs, PDAs and phones—that are shipped will grow at a 66.2 percent compound annual growth rate to 226 million units by 2008. According to In-Stat/MDR, removable Wi-Fi PC cards held 58.3 percent of the market in 2002. But by 2003, their market share declined to 38.8 percent, while the share of Wi-Fi mini PCI cards rose to 49.1 percent. According to Bogen, the mini cards enabled most of the Wi-Fi-enabled laptops that shipped last year. Most of the growth came in Wi-Fi-enabled notebooks, as 55 percent of the 32.1 million notebook PCs shipped in 2003 contained embedded Wi-Fi adapters. The report, called "Wi-Fi Inside: The Embedded Wi-Fi Paradigm," analyzes and forecasts the worldwide Wi-Fi market, including the products and direction of major vendors, from 2003 through 2008. Bogen acknowledged that Intels aggressive "Centrino Inside" marketing campaign for its Wi-Fi-enabled Centrino chips was a "key driving factor in terms of laptops." Intel launched its campaign in spring 2003, not long after releasing the Centrino chip. Click here to read about Linux drivers for Intels Centrino chip set, which are due this year. But according to Bogen, PDAs and smart phones are beginning to contribute significantly to the trend. "Its basically that the semiconductor manufacturers are gearing up to enable that capability," he said, comparing the data to the trend in the Ethernet market a few years back. Check out eWEEK.coms Mobile & Wireless Center at http://wireless.eweek.com for the latest news, reviews and analysis.

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Carol Ellison is editor of eWEEK.com's Mobile & Wireless Topic Center. She has authored whitepapers on wireless computing (two on network security–,Securing Wi-Fi Wireless Networks with Today's Technologies, Wi-Fi Protected Access: Strong, Standards-based Interoperable Security for Today's Wi-Fi Networks, and Wi-Fi Public Access: Enabling the future with public wireless networks.

Ms. Ellison served in senior and executive editorial positions for Ziff Davis Media and CMP Media. As an executive editor at Ziff Davis Media, she launched the networking track of The IT Insider Series, a newsletter/conference/Web site offering targeted to chief information officers and corporate directors of information technology. As senior editor at CMP Media's VARBusiness, she launched the Web site, VARBusiness University, an online professional resource center for value-added resellers of information technology.

Ms. Ellison has chaired numerous industry panels and has been quoted as a networking and educational technology expert in The New York Times, Newsday, The Los Angeles Times and The Wall Street Journal, National Public Radio's All Things Considered, CNN Headline News, WNBC and CNN/FN, as well as local and regional Comcast and Cablevision reports. Her articles have appeared in most major hi-tech publications and numerous newspapers and magazines, including The Washington Post and The Christian Science Monitor.

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