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Home » Hacking News » And now for something completely different. Wireless lans!

And now for something completely different. Wireless lans!

by Majik on September 11th, 2001 A report due out later this month will say that, despite strong interest in the technology from consumers, the wireless LAN (W-LAN) market is still struggling to enter the mainstream.

The study, entitled "The World W-LAN Industry," from Frost & Sullivan (F&S), predicts that the entire W-LAN market, including the fledgling WiFi Internet access system, will be worth $1.5 billion in revenues by 2007.

Within that timeframe, the research firm also predicts that annual shipments of W-LAN hardware will top the 20 million units mark.

The F&S report says that laptop vendors are now incorporating W-LAN technology into their notebook systems, while desktop suppliers such as Apple Computer are busy developing add-on W-LAN technologies.

Thanks to all this activity, the research says that pricing on the technology is now starting to fall, moving W-LAN steadily closer to the mass market status it needs.

The report also highlights the fact that, despite the W-LAN name, the market actually has several different technologies, all of which are competing for market dominance.

F&S says that strong demand is showing up in the home and consumer markets, not only because of end users who want to bring their work home but also due to increased broadband Internet connectivity and the need to share that access in settings that have multiple PCs.

In parallel with this rising demand, the report notes that the passage of the IEEE 802.11 W-LAN standard has revolutionized the industry and allowed the introduction of standardized radio products.

The study also predicts that W-LAN technologies will soon start to move outside of the existing vertical (specialized) market they exist in, and into the mainstream.

This move, the report says, will allow end users of the technology to move beyond their offices and access their office network from an increasing number of public locations, such as hotels, airports and even restaurants.

It's not all going to be easy, however, as the research firm says that the adoption and use of W-LAN products is being hampered by several problems.

These obstacles include interference from other radio devices operating in the increasingly crowded 2.4 gigahertz (GHz) industrial, scientific and medical waveband, as well as the potential weakening of the signal due to physical problems.

To counter this, F&S says that a new specification called 802.11a is coming onto the market.

The new standard, the report says, will support much faster data rates in a less congested frequency band - balanced against issues such as shorter range and competing channel applications.

The report adds that the first 802.11a products, operating at 5 GHz, will appear on the market at the end of 2001.

F&S' Web site is at .

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