In the wireless networking market, 2002 should prove to have been a smashing success, according to a report released Wednesday.
A preliminary study performed by In-Star/MDR projected that business Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11) hardware shipments should have risen 65 percent annually in 2002 to 11.6 million units, while home shipments increased 160 percent to 6.8 million units.
The report has yet to factor in final fourth-quarter 2002 sales figures, said Gemma Paulo, an analyst with the firm. Instead, the "final" figures represent projections based on the most recent data.
The increased unit volumes led to a price war. The 2002 total market revenue for 802.11b equipment should grow only 23 percent from 2001 when the final tally is totaled, from 1.8 billion in 2001 to $2.2 billion in 2002.
"In 2002, security continued to be the most talked about issue on the business side, while the Achilles heel of the home market remained multimedia support," Paulo said. "In the year ahead, the continued growth and evolution of dual-mode 2.4/5GHz capable equipment, Intels ability to push outs its Centrino mobile technology, the shift toward 802.11g as the preferred 2.4 GHz WLAN technology, and the advent of new enterprise infrastructure technology, will all shape the development of this market."
In related news, Buffalo Technology, an OEM manufacturer of wireless products, said that a WiFi standards body had tested and approved the companys 802.11g products for 802.11b backwards-compatibility. The 802.11g standard has yet to be formally ratified; industry vendors hope that changes in the spec can be accomplished through a change in the firmware which can be emailed out to customers.
If the spec does require hardware changes, however, Buffalo will replace the product for free, a spokeswoman said.