by September 15, 2003 0 comments

The wireless networking market has seen tremendous growth worldwide, and in India, it has recently received a big boost. A major reason for this is the government’s deregulation of the frequencies covered by the 802.11b standard. Now companies don’t need to obtain any license for indoor use of compliant equipment. The 802.11g standard was also finalized, which takes the connectivity up to 54 Mbps from 11 in “b”. Then, of course, prices for WiFi equipment have come down dramatically, thereby fuelling its growth in the corporate sector. So, wireless makes it to the Users’ Choice awards for the first time.

A surprisingly high 30% of those polled currently use Wi-fi equipment, while 22% plan to buy immediately, translating to an almost 100% growth rate!

The topper in the segment turned out to be Cisco, which left runner-up D-Link far behind. Coming in at number three is 3Com, followed by Nortel and Avaya in that order. Apcom just missed making it to the User’s Choice Club. Out of those who intended to buy Cisco, the majority rated good quality and well-known brand as the top reasons for the same. D-Link respondents gave good quality as their top reason for choosing it. Most of the remaining votes were divided between “well-known brand”, “price”, and “used and satisfied with performance”. While Cisco enjoyed the highest brand loyalty among its users, it needs to watch competition from other players. 

Cisco seems to enjoy most support from the North followed by South. It faced close competition from D-Link in the West, probably because the latter is based there. The maximum votes for Cisco came from companies with an IT spend of above Rs one crore. D-Link received the maximum votes from companies with an IT spend between Rs 25 lakh to Rs 50 lakh. Cisco received the maximum support from the manufacturing sector. D-Link enjoyed maximum support from the BFSI segment, followed by services.

Abroad, wireless has two distinct segments, the home networking and the corporate markets. There, it is the home networking markets that took off first. In India, due to obvious reasons, it is the reverse. In fact, the enterprise markets are poised for a take off. How soon that will happen will depend on pricing, and market penetration levels of notebooks! After all it is the notebook user who will
have more use of wireless access, and notebook usage in the country is still at very low levels.

Hopefully, wireless enabled notebook prices will become attractive enough for them to be adopted in large numbers and for them in turn to drive the wireless networking market.

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