The combined consumer and enterprise worldwide wireless local area network (WLAN) market segments increased 4.5 per cent year-on-year in the first quarter of 2016, although it declined 10.7 per cent on a sequential basis. According to a new report from IDC, the enterprise segment grew 8.6 per cent year-on-year in Q1, experiencing its best growth in more than a year – mainly due to refresh cycles, easing of economic concerns, greater availability of Wave 2 802.11ac products, and continued fulfilment of e-rate contracts in the US education market.
The 802.11ac standard now accounts for 59.6 per cent of dependent access point unit shipments and 75.6 per cent of dependent access point revenues, representing a noticeably faster adoption rate from 802.11n than the transition from 802.11a/b/g to 802.11n several years ago.
The enterprise WLAN market once again saw its strongest growth rates in the Asia Pacific (excluding Japan) region, which saw 19.7 per cent year-on-year growth in Q1. The North America region saw a 14.0 per cent increase, although the Middle East and Africa region grew just 4.5 per cent and Western Europe increased by only 2.7 per cent in the same period. Still, that was better than Central and Eastern Europe and Japan, which declined 8.8 per cent and 9.2 per cent respectively, and Latin America declined by a huge 15.6 per cent.
"Strong performances in North America and APeJ carried the market in 1Q16," said Petr Jirovsky, research manager at IDC. "Regional growth was roughly aligned with general indicators of economic certainty."
Cisco led the way in the quarter with a 2.7 per cent year-on-year increase to gain 45.2 per cent worldwide market share. IDC believes that the Meraki cloud-managed WLAN portfolio remains one of the primary growth drivers for Cisco. Aruba-HPE held second spot although shipments declined 2.3 per cent year-on-year. Ruckus achieved 21.3 per cent growth over the period to claim third spot with 7.7 per cent market share.
Meanwhile, consumer WLAN market revenue was flat on a year-on-year basis in Q1, with the adoption of the 802.11ac standard in the consumer market has been significantly slower than in the enterprise segment and accounts for just 18.4 per cent of shipments and 46.1 per cent of revenue in the consumer category.
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