Wireless Network Market Trends – Part 2

A look at how wireless networks are evolving and what that means to you

In part 1 of our look at wireless network market trends, we looked at an overview of what wireless technology was used in the current market and looked forward to 2015 and beyond. We wanted to see what the market was comprised of, get a sense of the market, and understand where things are going.

In case you missed part 1, here are the pie charts

Current Wireless Networks - Chart 1

Wireless netwok market - current

2015 Projected Wireless Networks - Chart 2

wireless network market - 2015 estimate

From these charts we observed the following:

When you take a look at the projected 2015 wireless trends, you can see a big jump in wireless N, up to 46% from 20%. In addition, wireless AC is poised to be used 3 times as much in 2015, with a jump from 2% to 6%. While this isn't a monumental jump it shows that the demand will continue to grow at increasing rates. However, when you step back and take a higher-level look, it means 94% of the market will still be using either wireless A/B/G or wireless N as of the year 2015.

While wireless AC is something that has exciting possibilities, it's important to keep the market numbers in perspective. Wireless AC is poised to grow in the future. However, it looks like projections show it may be at least a few years before it becomes widely used. So, what does that mean for you?

In addition, there are some interesting wireless trends pertaining to particular industries.

For instance, there is growth being seen for customers buying wireless for:

  • Manufacturing

  • Warehouses

  • Hospitals

  • Outdoor environments

There is shrinking market being seen in:

  • Offices

  • Conference Rooms

Perhaps this is because there it is already there. It's difficult to speculate, but the numbers reflect the market. So, where does that leave us?

The Trend Toward Wireless AC

One can see that the move to wireless AC is going to happen. The only question is at what pace. Based on the percentage of growth in a short time, the growth could spike significantly over the next 3 to 5 years.

What is causing this trend? There are some very exciting capabilities that leave room for several useful and effective applications.

Capabilities of Wireless AC

According to spec, Wave 1 AC has a top performance of 1.5 Gbps.

Wave 2 will have a top performance of 3.5 Gbps.

The max of the AC spec is 6.7 Gbps.

As you can see by these performance numbers, moving to AC will be desirable to many. This is obviously something that will drive the trends we are seeing.

Some Requirements for Wireless AC

AC initially requires PoE+ on many different offerings to get full bandwidth and radio use. The expectation is that it will drop to regular 802.3af PoE later, just like N.

The bigger concern is the bandwidth of AC, especially Wave 2 and higher. Plus it requires multiple 1Gb links to the AP, or 10Gb links for full throughput.

That may mean some changes or adds to your current switching.

Wireless Cost Considerations

All of the information above begs the question “When should I move to AC?”

Whether you make the move to AC or wait a while, there are a couple ways to reduce costs.

If you are making the move to AC, you will likely need to upgrade your switches a bit to accommodate the move to AC. The costs of this can start to add up. You may want to consider using high quality pre-owned switches. This will save you a bunch of money and if you choose the right partner you will have great performance, reliability, and warranty.

If you are going to stick with something other than wireless AC, you can also reduce your costs by opting for the high quality pre-owned equipment for your wireless needs. Again, when you learn the facts about network hardware performance, reliability, and risks, you may find this option very attractive.