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Cisco's access point market share falling
Wed, 6/30/10 - 6:15pm    View comments

CiscoABI ResearchInterestingly, earlier this week, ABI Research revealed that Cisco's enterprise access point market-share was greater than 50%.

Keep in mind that market share is a useful indicator of market trends, but only when viewed in the context of historical performance.

After reading ABI's quick news release, I couldn't help but think, there's got to be more to this market-share report, especially when a well-known and respected research outfit like ABI appears to be trying to massage Cisco's robust ego (at least in my opinion).

So pulling back the covers what did I find?

Cisco's access point 1st Quarter market share:

2008    66.3%

2009    61.6%

2010    58.1%

Yes, the ABI report was accurate but it wasn't telling the whole story. Cisco's market share is actually falling! Furthermore, ABI's news release stoked my curiosity even more with this tantalizing morsel:

"Both in the consumer and enterprise markets, the adoption of 802.11n standard-type access points is still showing growth. Since 802.11n access points provide higher speed and wider wireless coverage than 802.11a, 802.11b or 802.11a/g products, larger deployments of 802.11n products are expected in the coming years."

Interestingly, if you look at just 802.11n - the newest Wi-Fi standard and a highly disruptive technology - the change in market share is even more pronounced:

Cisco's 802.11n market share:

2009 4th Quarter    52%

2010 1st Quarter    41.9%, a (-10.1%) market share LOSS

802.11n is reshaping the wireless LAN market because it gives customers an opportunity to change vendors during their next closet refresh, and customers are definitely voting with their feet. One of those vendors who appears to be taking 802.11n market share away from Cisco is Aruba Networks:

Aruba    Aruba's 802.11n market share:

2009 4th Quarter    17.3%

2010 1st Quarter    21%, a +3.7% market share GAIN

Why do you think Cisco's 802.11n market share is falling while Aruba's 802.11n market share is rising?

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