ABI Research has released Wi-Fi Equipment Market Share Analysis and Forecasts, which provides historical and forecast market data on a quarterly basis, for the previous eight quarters and up to 2013. It includes annual overall Wi-Fi LAN equipment market share statistics as well as those for consumer/SOHO access points, enterprise access points, controllers, and more.

Many common assumptions held about the Wi-Fi industry in 2007 have been exposed as myths, according to a new Wi-Fi equipment market database released by ABI Research.

According to vice president and research director Stan Schatt, “One popular belief is that independent or ‘fat’ access points, once ‘as plentiful as buffalo on the great plains’ are now dead. These products are far from dead, and in fact still represented a third (34%) of all access points shipped in 2007.”

In fact, a just-released new 802.11n access point from Netgear (WND AP 330) designed for the SMB market does not require a controller. Startup Aerohive Networks is now selling what it calls a third generation independent access point with a value proposition that the lack of need for controllers represents a major cost saving. In fact, Schatt believes that more intelligent, more feature-rich independent access points designed specifically for the SMB market represent a threat to market leader Cisco, since some of these products cross into the territory it reserves for its own branded products and not for Linksys products.

A second Wi-Fi industry myth is that enterprises are driving the equipment market. Anyone attending this year’s Interop trade show in Las Vegas would assume that enterprises were the chief recipient of Wi-Fi equipment. But, “While news stories focus on large deployments of Wi-Fi equipment at companies such as General Electric and Coca-Cola," notes Schatt, “95% of access point shipments in 2007 were to consumers and small businesses.” Of course enterprise-grade Wi-Fi equipment offers far more features including greater security and commands a far higher price. Schatt points to the fact that revenue from enterprise purchases of Wi-Fi access points represented 32% of all access point revenue in 2007.