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WLAN Innovation Continues

Small and medium businesses have been deploying wireless LANs for more than a decade. However, vendors are still trying to differentiate their products because the market continues to experience very healthy growth, according to market research firm In-Stat.In-Stat found that sales of Wireless Access Points (WAP) increased by 30% in 2010, and some vendors capitalized on the high growth. For instance, Meru Networks increased its installed base by nearly 50% in 2010, which resulted in a sharp rise (19%) in its market share. Other high-risers AeroHive and Meraki Networks are giving access points enhanced hardware features and moving the controller functions to the cloud, a change designed to ease network management challenges for businesses.

Cisco, the leading supplier of WLAN equipment, has tried to keep pace. In-Stat noted that the network equipment vendor recently released a security upgrade for its 802.11n WAP that features improved reporting and compliance with the PCI 2.0 standard.

The market research report presents both good and bad news for small and medium businesses. The positives are that they will continue to see a variety of differentiating products from suppliers and may be better able to find one that meets their unique requirements. The downside is that the trend in the networking arena has been toward consolidation. Consequently, businesses may end up deploying products whose long term future could shift dramatically as the market matures.