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Voracious Wi-Fi Consumption Drives WLAN Market Growth

Wireless local-area networks are going to be the primary method for connecting the Internet of Things, according to technology research firm Dell’Oro Group. According to the research firm's latest report, the market for WLAN access points will experience a growth wave into 2020.

Within the next five years, the number of WLAN access points installed will approach one billion, and the market for that equipment will reach almost $1.3 billion in 2019, according to the Dell’Oro report. That represents a 30% increase in revenues from 2015. The growth results from the widespread usage of so-called Wave 2 access points, which are being installed to handle steady increases in wireless and mobile traffic.

“Enterprises have experienced significant and immediate wireless traffic increases immediately after 802.11ac Wave 1 installations are complete,” explained Chris Depuy, vice president at Dell’Oro. “Users are consuming whatever Wi-Fi bandwidth is made available to them in high-usage settings like universities and schools.” Wave 2 access points have the potential to increase maximum wireless speeds to 6.93 gigabits per second — a significant increase from 3.47 gigabits using Wave 1 networks.

Underlying the transition to Wave 2 access point is the introduction of the 2.5/5G Ethernet interface, a standard being developed to improve WLAN speeds without a wiring upgrade. The new Ethernet switch ports will give equipment makers an incentive to build out WLAN infrastructure. 

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