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Home, SOHO WLAN Vendors Struggle For Profits

Even though sales have ramped up significantly, vendors of wireless LAN equipment for the home and small office markets are struggling to make a profit because of price competition, a study released Wednesday by market research firm In-Stat says.

Unit sales of WLAN equipment into those markets will increase from about 17.6 million in 2004 to about 32.6 million in 2009, the study founds. A key to that growth in unit sales will be the transition from 802.11g to the next generation of WLAN products using the 802.11n standard. That standard will use multiple input-multiple output (MIMO) technology to increase speed and range.

Of the benefits to that technology, which already is incorporated in pre-standard equipment, range is more important, the study found.

"The benefits of dramatically increased range appear to be resonating with consumers, actually more so than the increased throughput offered, and we believe customers are willing to pay the extra amount for whole-home coverage," Sam Lucero, an In-Stat analyst, said in a statement.