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Wireless networking gear revenues continue rise

Worldwide sales of wireless networking equipment reach new high as broadband adoption fuels growth.

Richard Shim Staff Writer, CNET News.com
Richard Shim
writes about gadgets big and small.
Richard Shim
Revenues for wireless networking gear and sales volume are up, according to a report.

Worldwide revenue from wireless networking equipment reached $767.6 million in the fourth quarter of last year and first quarter of this year, according to Infonetics Research, an international research firm specializing in networking. Unit shipments hit 12.2 million, the highest quarterly volume since wireless networking gear became popular.

Increasing revenues and volumes are expected to continue. By the first quarter of 2006, revenues are expected to be up another 1.5 percent, to $779.6 million.

The growth of broadband Internet access helped boost the wireless networking market. Demand for wireless broadband routers jumped 34 percent in revenue in the fourth quarter of 2004 and first quarter of 2005, exceeding $328 million.

New features such as extended-range capabilities and voice over IP are expected to fuel further growth.

The wireless networking market also has 802.11n products to look forward to for additional growth. 802.11n is the designation for the next Wi-Fi standard, which is still in development but expected to be completed in late 2006, with products due in early 2007. 802.11n will allow for the wireless transfer of data at rates of more than 100mbps.

The speed boost over the current, 802.11g standard--which optimally allows for wireless transfers at 54mbps but averages about half that speed--is expected to invigorate the wireless networking market similar to the way 802.11g picked up for the previous standard, 802.11b, and helped to further popularize Wi-Fi products.