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It's official: Wireless LAN is the hottest market in enterprise networking


Boston, MASSACHUSETTS, March 20, 2012—Market research firm Infonetics Research released excerpts from its fourth quarter 2011 (4Q11) Wireless LAN Equipment and WiFi Phones and Ethernet Switches vendor market share and forecast reports.


"Sales data for 2011 enterprise networking equipment are in, and the results are very clear: Enterprises are racing to upgrade their infrastructure to support the wave of wireless devices hitting their networks," explains Matthias Machowinski, directing analyst for enterprise networks and video at Infonetics Research. "While the bulk of expenditures still goes toward wired Ethernet switches, and will for some time to come, the growth is coming from wireless networking gear, up 24% in 2011, compared to flat sales for Ethernet switches."

Machowinski adds: "With wireless taking up an ever-larger share of the expenditure pie, vendors must have a well-developed wireless strategy to address the evolving requirements of their customers."


  • The global wireless LAN (WLAN) equipment market hit an all-time quarterly high of $893 million in 4Q11, up 1% over the previous high of $880 million set in 3Q11
  • Sales of wireless LAN equipment have been on a strong double-digit year-over-year growth trajectory for 9 consecutive quarters
  • 2011 demand for wireless LAN equipment sales was well balanced across the major world regions, all posting 20%+ annual growth
  • Access point (AP) shipments grew stronger than revenue in 2011, jumping 32% and crossing the 7 million unit mark
  • 802.11n APs now make up about 75% of all AP sales
  • Due mainly to declining prices, the torrid growth rate of the WLAN market is expected to slow, but pick back up in 2015 with the adoption of 802.11ac technology
  • 802.11n APs now make up about 75% of all AP sales
  • Market leader Cisco saw significant competitive pressure across its product portfolio in 2011, and the wireless LAN market was no exception, though it easily maintained its near-50% lead
  • Top-ranked WLAN specialist Aruba strengthened its 2nd place position in 2011, while HP and Motorola continue to battle it out for 3rd


Infonetics’ quarterly Wireless LAN Equipment and WiFi Phones report tracks Aerohive, Alcatel-Lucent, Aruba, BelAir, Brocade, Cisco, D-Link, Enterasys, Extreme, Juniper, Meru, Motorola, NETGEAR, Polycom, HP, Ruckus, SMC, Xirrus, and others. The report provides market size, market share, analysis, and forecasts for interactive, independent, and outdoor access points (including AP forecasts by technology: 802.11 a/b/g, 802.11n, 802.11ac), WLAN controllers, enterprise single-mode WiFi phones.


  • Following record sales in 2010, global Ethernet switch sales eked out a 1% gain in 2011 to reach a new high of $18.9 billion due to strength in the second half of the year
  • In 2011 alone, more 10G Ethernet switch ports were shipped than in all previous years combined -- up 90%, easily passing 8 million -- and represent the only Ethernet switch segment for which vendors realized revenue growth
  • During the 4 quarters of 2011, Ethernet switch behemoth Cisco gave away about 3 points of global Ethernet switch market share to end the year at 67%, while #2 HP gained about 2 points (now at 12%) and #3 Juniper gained about half a point
  • China saw the biggest growth in Ethernet switch sales in 2011, up 32% from 2010, and Latin America is up 19% on the strength of activity in Brazil and Mexico


Infonetics’ quarterly Ethernet Switch report tracks Adtran, Alcatel-Lucent, Alaxala, Arista, Avaya, Brocade, Cisco, D-Link, Dell, Enterasys, Extreme, Hitachi-Cable, HP, Huawei, IBM, Juniper, NETGEAR, LG-Ericsson, and others. The report provides market size, market share, forecasts, and analysis for fixed configuration Ethernet switches (unmanaged, Web-managed, and Layer 2 and Layer 3 managed switches) and chassis Ethernet switches by port type (10M/100M, 1G, 10G, 40G, and 100G).


Download Infonetics report highlights, prospectuses, etc. at (see ENTERPRISE NETWORKING).


Infonetics continues to expand rapidly and is looking to hire more analysts. See for current job openings, which include a senior Video analyst and market analysts with enterprise VoIP expertise.


Infonetics Research ( is an international market research and consulting firm serving the communications industry since 1990. A leader in defining and tracking emerging and established technologies in all world regions, Infonetics helps clients plan, strategize, and compete more effectively.

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"While the bulk of expenditures still goes toward wired Ethernet switches, the growth is coming from wireless networking gear, up 24% in 2011, compared to flat sales for Ethernet switches."

Matthias Machowinski, Directing Analyst
Enterprise Networks and Video


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