Gartner: Australia behind the WLAN eight-ball

Gartner: Australia behind the WLAN eight-ball

Wireless local area network (WLAN) growth in the Australian market continues to be dominated by home and SOHO take-up as enterprise adoption remains slow, according to market analysts at Gartner.

Australia was ranked fourth in Asia-Pacific in terms of shipments and revenue — end-user revenues grew 104.1 per cent in 2002, to $33 million or 5.7 per cent of Asia-Pacific revenue, while units increased 131.4 per cent to 132,800 or 3.9 per cent of Asia-Pacific shipments.

But home and SOHO domination of the local figures was clearly reflected in the market share of leading vendors — D-Link topped the list with 21.5 per cent of shipments compared to Netgear (11.6 per cent) and Cisco (6.4 per cent).

“WLAN is a complimentary lifestyle-enhancing technology to home broadband, and its growth in the home directly parallels the rapid uptake of asymmetric digital subscriber line (ADSL) and cable broadband services in the Australian home and SOHO markets,” said Gartner research director for mobile and wireless, Robin Simpson.

“Unlike Japan and Korea, where growth was due to telcos bundling WLAN equipment with home broadband services, Australian growth was driven by strong distribution of retail brands like D-Link and Netgear through large retail chains.”

Gartner attributed slow enterprise adoption in the Australian market to lingering security concerns, low awareness of the value of mobility and the relatively low number of public hotspots.

“The wait and see approach is clearly putting Australia behind the eight-ball in comparison to our neighbours,” Simpson said. “Most enterprise deployments in this market are still limited to test beds within certain business units.”

Simpson claimed Intel’s Centrino campaign was starting to raise wireless mobility awareness.

He highlighted Azure and Optus as companies announcing significant public hotspot deployment plans.

“The only thing missing is Telstra,” Simpson said. “It has the resources and infrastructure to be a major player in enterprise-class wireless broadband but remains silent about any plans to rollout public hotspots.”

Simpson said the growing number of notebooks sold with wireless capabilities as standard meant more active alliances and bundled pricing solutions need to be offered by carriers, providers and hardware vendors.

Gartner estimated Asia-Pacific WLAN equipment shipments were up 77.6 per cent in 2002, reaching 3.4 million units, but end-user spending was up just 41.4 per cent by comparison.

Globally, Buffalo/Melco led the way in WLAN shipments with a 36.6 per cent share due.

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