By Claus Hetting, Wi-Fi NOW CEO & Chairman
Unsurprisingly, the enterprise Wi-Fi equipment market took somewhat of beating last year – especially during the second quarter 2020 – but the market is well on the road to recovery and Wi-Fi spending could get close to 10% year-on-year growth in 2021, says IDC. The findings were presented by Brandon Butler, IDC Senior Research Analyst Enterprise Networks, at Day 4 of the Wi-Fi World Congress Europe last week.
Working from home is of course a megatrend these days. Meanwhile – and remarkably – working at the office seems to be nearly as relevant as ever and could be poised for a significant comeback. At least that seems to be the logical conclusion after examining the enterprise Wi-Fi market growth figures presented by IDC’s Brandon Butler during Day 4 of the Wi-Fi World Congress Europe last week.
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According to IDC research, investments by enterprises into WLAN (Wi-Fi) networks slumped by 4.6% since March 2020 but is expected to grow by a whopping 9.1% in 2021. This is according to a survey conducted among enterprises by IDC late last year. Overall the enterprise Wi-Fi market grew by 1.9% in 2020 despite the fact that many enterprises simply closed shop and sent staff home.
In total the WLAN market for both consumer and enterprise networking equipment grew an impressive 10.9% last year (year-on-year relative to 2019), mostly driven by a 16.4% surge in demand for consumer Wi-Fi, IDC says. Most of the enterprise Wi-Fi growth was and still is driven by campus Wi-Fi upgrades to Wi-Fi 6, Brandon Butler says.
IDC expects the CAGR (compound annual growth rate) for the enterprise Wi-Fi market to reach 5.7% towards 2025 with Wi-Fi 6 equipment representing more than 65% of enterprise Wi-Fi revenues by next year. Among initiatives possibly driving additional growth Brandon Butler mentioned Telecom Infra Project’s OpenWiFi as well as the Wireless Broadband Alliance’s OpenRoaming.