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Ruckus Wireless executives told Channel Insider that 802.11n sales made up only
25 percent of overall WiFi access point sales in 2009, and that may be due to
two factors. First, some customers may have been waiting for the final
ratification of the IETF 802.11n standard, which only happened in October 2009.

But others may have been stopped in their tracks by the price of the new
technology in the midst of a recession. Looking to alleviate some of that
objection, Ruckus Wireless has expanded its ZoneFlex 7300 product line with a
series of midrange enterprise-class access points built on the 802.11n standard
and priced for midsized enterprises. Ruckus says the products are priced at $1
per megabit.

“What is common across all customers is the need for more bandwidth in support
of multimedia apps,” Niv Hanigal, director of product management at Ruckus,
told Channel Insider. “There’s a tsunami of WiFi-enabled devices, and at the
same time budgets are tighter than ever.”

Ruckus says it is offering the industry’s first sub-$500 enterprise-class
802.11n access point, which includes both single-band (7343) and dual-band
(7363) products, priced at $499 and $599, respectively.

The devices offer a maximum 802.11n capacity of 300M bps (single band) or 600M bps
(dual band) and can deliver 210M bps at short ranges of 10 to 20 feet and over
120M bps at longer ranges of 60 to 100 feet within a typical, walled office
environment, according to Ruckus.

Expect to see more price competition in the 802.11n access point arena in 2010,
according to networking analyst firm ABI
Research.

“Vendors are trying to gain market share by providing products which offer more
reliable coverage and consistent performance as well as lower prices,” said
Khin Sandi Lynn, a research associate at ABI
Research, in a statement. “For example, Aruba has
launched an 802.11n access point priced the same as their 802.11g model. Price
competition will attract more organizations that have not yet moved to
802.11n.”

Buyers of such access points from Ruckus Wireless have been concentrated in the
hospitality vertical, including many hotels, according to John Sampson,
director of global channel programs at Ruckus.

Sampson said Ruckus has been briefing channel partners one-on-one about the new
products and has been working to get access products out into the field.

ABI Research reported last month that sales
of 802.11n WLAN access points grew by nearly 44 percent in 2009 over the
previous year with particularly strong demand for enterprise-class 802.11n
access points.

ABI Research further said that over 400,000
enterprise access points were shipped in the first three quarters of 2009, and
that shipments were expected to have reached half a million by the end of 2009.

Cisco stands as the top vendor in the 802.11n enterprise access point market
with a market share of 63 percent and Aruba owns the
second largest share with 25 percent, according to ABI
Research.

The firm is forecasting total 802.11n access point shipments of 6.3 million in
2012.