Analysts believe it is possible for wireless LAN to replace Ethernet as the preferred mode for accessing enterprise networks in the future. Farpoint Group principal Craig Mathias expects WLAN to “become the default network connection technology over (the) next five to 10 years.” He said the technology continues to improve: WLAN access points have higher capacity and standards like 802.11n come with better security. Mathias expects all these developments to boost throughput, range and reliability that “there’s probably no good reason not to use wireless.”
Market projections seem to support Mathias’ prediction. Although nominally, shipments of Ethernet switch ports remain higher than enterprise-class WLAN access points, the growth in the latter is considerably more. According to market research firm IDC, WLAN AP sales will rise from 1.6 million this year to 11.5 million by 2010 or an increase of over 600 percent, whereas managed Ethernet switch ports will reach 172 million in 2006 to 208 million in four years, or a jump of just about 20 percent.