Study: 802.11b Decisive Winner in the Home

A new study released Wednesday by Cahners In-Stat Group has found that 802.11b wireless local area network (WLAN) technology is decisively winning the battle for in-home wireless networking over HomeRF.

The study found that, in 2000, 58 percent of all wireless nodes sold for the used HomeRF technology. However, it projects that 71 percent of all wireless nodes shipped in 2001 will be 802.11b products.

“We expect that 802.11b will be the predominant wireless home networking protocol over the next few years, with HomeRF playing a far more peripheral role,” said Navin Sabharwal, an ABI vice president author of the report. “The reversal of fortune for HomeRF has been remarkable and sudden.”

He attributed the success of 802.11b to faster data rates and aggressive marketing by vendors. He also said that Intel’s decision to base future products on 802.11b instead of HomeRF, which it previously supported, was a major factor.

The surge in WLAN interest in the home is expected to fuel a dramatic overall increase in home networking, the study said. Specifically, sales of home networking equipment is expected to double in 2001 to about $243 million, according to the ABI study.

The study projects $2.4 billion in home networking sales by 2006. These figures include all types of home networking technology. Currently, technologies such as HomePNA, which uses existing in-wall phone lines for networking, are popular, but 802.11b sales will increase as prices decrease, the study found.

It predicted WLANs will account for 48 percent of all in-home networking nodes by 2006.

The findings are part of the study: “Home Networking Equipment – A Practical Assessment of Technologies and Changing Market Dynamics.”

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