Market Insight

RESEARCH NOTE - 4.7 Million Wireless LAN Access Points Shipped in Q1 2016; Wave 2 Adoption Spikes

June 28, 2016

Matthias Machowinski Matthias Machowinski Directing Analyst, Enterprise Networks and Video
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IHS Technology analysis and commentary on the WLAN Equipment and WiFi Phone Quarterly Market Tracker, which includes data for the quarter ended March 31, 2016, follows. 


Wireless LAN (WLAN) equipment sales totaled $1.2 billion worldwide in the first quarter of 2016 (Q1 2016), declining 14 percent sequentially due to seasonal demand factors, but continuing on an overall growth trajectory. On a year-over-year basis, revenue is up 5 percent, slightly ahead of 2015’s
4 percent growth rate.

Among the good news is further acceleration in access point shipment growth, which stands at 20 percent year-over-year in Q1 2016, with a total of
4.7 million access points shipped. On the other hand, average selling prices haven’t materially increased despite good adoption of 802.11ac and
Wave 2 products — the latter standing at 3 percent of all units shipped in Q1 2016. Demand for WLAN is strong, but monetizing that demand has been a challenge for the last two years as organizations chose lower-cost approaches.

Still, the outlook for the WLAN market remains bright, as infrastructure investments over the long term shift to WLAN equipment to support the rapid rise of wireless devices, both personal and Internet of Things (IoT), as well as mobility requirements.

Additional Wireless LAN Market Highlights

  • Independent access point shipments continue to post small growth, rising 7 percent year-over-year in the first quarter of 2016 (Q1 2016), thanks to demand for low-cost solutions, particularly in Asia Pacific
  • Commoditization, however, is keeping a lid on independent access point revenue, which declined 8 percent in 2015 and was flat in Q1 2016 from the year-ago quarter (Q1 2015)
  • Over 70 percent of all access point revenue comes from 802.11ac products, and Wave 2 products broke through the 5 percent mark in Q1 and have started to cannibalize Wave 1 802.11ac gear
  • Now that the FCC’s new E-Rate program is up and running, WLAN sales to K-12 customers are recovering, and along with it the North American market
  • The top year-over-year share gainers in the WLAN market in Q1 2016 are, in alphabetical order, Aerohive, Ruckus and Ubiquiti

WLAN Report Synopsis

The IHS WLAN Equipment and WiFi Phone Quarterly Market Tracker tracks enterprise access points by type and technology, wireless LAN (WLAN) controllers and enterprise single-mode WiFi phones. The report provides worldwide and regional market size, vendor market share, forecasts through 2020, analysis and trends. Vendors tracked include Aerohive, Alcatel-Lucent, Aruba, Brocade, Buffalo, Cisco, D-Link, Extreme, HP, Huawei, Juniper, Meru, Netgear, Ruckus, Spectralink, TP-Link, Ubiquiti, Vocera, Xirrus, Zebra and others.

For information about purchasing this report, contact the sales department at IHS in the Americas at (844) 301-7334 or; in Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) at +44 1344 328 300 or; or Asia-Pacific (APAC) at +604 291 3600 or

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