Cisco, Aruba, HP Lead Expanding Enterprise WLAN Market: IDC

The first quarter of 2013 was the 13th consecutive quarter in the enterprise WLAN market with annual growth greater than 15 percent.

The combined consumer and enterprise worldwide wireless local area network (WLAN) market segments experienced year-over-year growth of 12.5 percent in the first quarter of 2013, according to the IT research firm International Data Corporation’s (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly WLAN Tracker.

Cisco's first quarter worldwide enterprise WLAN revenue grew a strong 23.4 percent year over year, reaching $510 million in the quarter, with the North American market accounting for nearly half (48.8 percent) of Cisco's worldwide enterprise WLAN revenue in that period. The company’s worldwide market share stands at 52.9 percent in the first quarter of this year, its highest share since the fourth quarter of 2010.

The enterprise segment continued to grow at a healthy rate of 19.3 percent over the same period last year. The first quarter of 2013 was the 13th consecutive quarter with annual growth greater than 15 percent, the report noted. The consumer WLAN market also started the year 2013 on a relative high note, growing 6.2 percent year over year.

Excluding its original equipment manufacturing (OEM) business, Aruba Networks grew its enterprise revenue 8.5 percent year over year in the first quarter of the year, which was below the overall market. As a result, Aruba now holds 10.5 percent of the enterprise WLAN market, down from 11.5 percent compared with the same period last year.

"The explosion of mobile devices and the uptake of enterprise mobility applications continue to be top of mind for enterprise IT in terms of driving WLAN infrastructure growth across a wide range of enterprise verticals and use cases," Rohit Mehra, vice president of network infrastructure at IDC, said in a statement. "While this quarter saw some slowing of growth in WiFi infrastructure rollouts for mobile offload applications, the longer term trend of cellular operators and managed service providers leveraging WiFi stays intact and will continue to boost additional growth in the coming years."

HP's overall enterprise WLAN revenue increased 12.4 percent year over year, and the company’s market share increased slightly to 5.4 percent in first quarter, up from 5.1 percent in the first quarter of 2012. Ruckus grew a solid 24 percent year over year in the first quarter of the year, which is well above the overall market, the report found.

From a geographic perspective, the enterprise WLAN market performed especially well in the Asia/Pacific region outside of Japan, where it increased 36.7 percent year over year in the first quarter. Within that region, Indonesia recorded the highest year-over-year growth rate of 550 percent.

The report also revealed the enterprise market was also fairly strong in Middle East & Africa (MEA), in Western Europe, and in the United States, up 25.1 percent, 20 percent, and 19.8 percent on an annual basis. The Central & Eastern Europe (CEE) market was considerably weaker, growing by low single digits, while Japan and Latin America actually saw low single-digit declines year over year.

"Although there was significant regional and country level variance in terms of WLAN market growth in 1Q13, the worldwide outlook for enterprise, service provider and consumer segments remains very positive as vendors and end-users start to prepare for the next technology upgrade cycle," Petr Jirovsky, a senior research analyst with IDC’s worldwide networking trackers group, said in a statement.