In 2009, 802.11n WLAN access point shipments increased by nearly 44 percent over the previous year. There was particularly strong demand for enterprise WLAN 802.11n-based access points. According to ABI Research's market data, more than 400,000 thousand enterprise access points were shipped in the first three quarters of 2009. The firm estimates that enterprise 802.11n access point shipments reached half a million by the end of last year.
In the SOHO and consumer market, a total of 7.7 million 802.11n Wi-Fi access points were shipped in the first three quarters of 2009. That represents a large increase: shipments during all of 2008 were just 7.8 million. In those first three quarters, 802.11n represented more than 19 percent of all WLAN access point shipments. "802.11n WLAN access point shipments into SOHO and consumer markets are expected to reach 32.2 million in 2010," said Serene Fong, Industry Analyst at ABI Research.
Cisco is the leading vendor in 802.11n enterprise access points with a market share of 63 percent; Aruba owns the second-largest share with 25 percent. Enterprise 802.11n access point shipments are expected to total 6.3 million in 2012.
The third quarter of 2009 was good for the enterprise WLAN market. Growth was especially driven by the sales of 802.11n products. In the first three quarters of 2009, 78,000 enterprise controllers were shipped. Cisco claims 66 percent of the enterprise controller market. ABI Research expects enterprise controller shipments to reach 140,000 in 2010.
"Vendors are trying to gain market share by providing products which offer more reliable coverage and consistent performance as well as lower prices. For example, Aruba has launched an 802.11n access point priced the same as their 802.11g model. Price competition will attract more organizations that have not yet moved to 802.11n," said Khin Sandi Lynn, Research Associate.