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Consumers Continue To Push Wireless Networking Growth

Consumers are continuing to adopt wireless networking technologies at a rapid rate, according to a market study released Thursday by British market research firm GfK.

The research firm claimed that worldwide sales wireless routers, for instance, increased 108 percent in the first quarter of this year compared to the same quarter a year ago. It found that sales of wireless network interface cards increased 87 percent. The large increases are largely due to decreasing prices for wireless equipment, the market research firm said.

"The affordability of establishing a wireless oasis at home has been an enormous lure to consumers," the firm said in a statement.

More evidence that consumers are responsible for the lion's share of the gain is the fact that the percentage of wireless equipment being sold in retail stores has increased significantly in the last year, according to GfK. Consumers tend to acquire such equipment in the retail channel while enterprises tend to use value-added resellers and others who specialize in the IT market. In addition, businesses tend acquire wireless equipment from vendors such as Cisco Systems that don't sell through the retail channel.

While consumers are gobbling up wireless networking equipment, businesses are still the primary purchasers of 3G cellular data equipment, the study found. Sales of 3G mobile data cards for laptops increased 580 percent in the first quarter compared to the same quarter a year ago, the study found. The research firm said most of those cards were acquired by enterprises.