The worldwide WLAN semiconductor forecast continues to look strong and will surge to 487 million units by 2009 due to a growing number of end-market opportunities, IDC predicts. New end-market opportunities will materialize in consumer and mobile devices as well as technology advancements such as MIMO, which extend bandwidth and range. IDC forecasts WLAN semiconductor revenue will increase from $1.2 billion in 2004 to $3.0 billion by 2009, representing a 21% compound annual growth rate (CAGR).
"Increased competition and advanced chip integration will continue to create intense pricing pressure in the WLAN market, however, opportunities still exist for vendors to differentiate themselves from the pack," said Celeste Crystal, senior research analyst at IDC. "Low power consumption as a result of single-chip designs, increasingly robust quality of service (QoS) mechanisms, and the role of WLAN in consumer VoIP all provide opportunities to build loyalty."
Two new IDC studies shed much light on the worldwide WLAN semiconductor market and its competitive landscape:
Worldwide WLAN Semiconductor Forecast and Analysis 2005-2009 examines the market for components going into 802.11 WLAN client and infrastructure markets. Among key findings discussed in this study are the following:
Chip suppliers will play a vital role in accelerating the adoption of WLAN features in high volume consumer device segments such as gaming consoles, set-top boxes, and digital TVs.
Adoption of WLAN in future mobile phone designs will offer significant opportunities for growth.
Support of robust QoS features on the chip will be a critical aspect of future designs, especially for audio and video streaming applications requiring advanced traffic management and prioritization.
Worldwide WLAN Semiconductor 2004 Vendor Profiles explores market share shifts and discusses the strategies of major semiconductor suppliers that offer chipsets going into the 802.11 WLAN markets. This study ranks the top worldwide WLAN semiconductors vendors according to 2004 revenue as follows:
Broadcom came in first place due to a 44% year-over-year growth
Atheros grabbed the second spot with a 95% year-over-year growth
Intel grew 57% to hold its third place
Conexant/GlobespanVirata fell to the number four position
Texas Instruments lost share and ended in the fifth spot
Both studies cover the standards 802.11b, 802.11a, 802.11g, dual-band 802.11a+b/g chipsets, and 802.11n (including "pre-n"), and discuss components shipping into client-side (notebook PCs, desktop PCs, handheld devices, consumer devices, and point of sale devices) and access point devices (home and enterprise access points, routers, and switches, as well as residential gateways).