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European WLAN market expands

Donald Rumsfeld might be able to discern the differences between Old Europe and New Europe, but when it comes to WLAN adoption, we see only a new continent. A just-published IDC report says that, as in previous years, most of the revenue growth was generated in the consumer space, but that growth in the enterprise market has been picking up pace, with demand for enterprise equipment growing during the last 12 months. The residential market accounts for 80 percent of the total European WLAN market. During the first half of 2006, the home segment saw 22 percent growth over the second half of 2005. In the first six months of 2006, 6.6 million wireless routers/gateways were sold to the consumer market. ZyXEL, for one, successfully improved its market position in the European residential market and now holds the No. 1 spot, followed by Thomson and Linksys.

Growth rates in the enterprise/SMB segment are more modest, but demand for enterprise equipment is growing. From the second half of 2005 to the first half of 2006, overall revenue for enterprise infrastructure equipment increased by 14 percent. Demand for centralized WLAN architecture especially continued to grow in popularity, and revenue for this kind of product rose 48 percent. Last week we wrote about Trapeze's decision to offer a decentralized WLAN architecture. The company's business strategists may ponder this fact: Revenue for decentralized architecture products in Europe fell 16 percent from the second half of 2005 to the first half of 2006. Cisco continues to be the most important player, followed at a distance by 3Com. ZyXEL also became more active in the enterprise market and improved its market position from fifth to third position with a revenue share of 13 percent.

IDC's Evelien Wiggers explains: "Vendor positions in the residential and enterprise markets are influenced by different market characteristics, and while Cisco has been dominating the enterprise segment for years, vendor positions in the consumer market tend to vary much more. In this segment, vendors usually have agreements with service providers and success is often closely connected with the service providers' success in expanding the number of broadband connections."

For more on WLAN in Europe
- see documents at IDC website

ALSO: See this review of the ZyXEL WiFi phone. ZyXEL also jumps into the draft-802.11n game with a new MIMO router. Report

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