ABI Research (News - Alert) has released a new report on small and medium business (SMBs) customers who have Wi-Fi deployments. The research findings indicate that SMBs show a vast array of Wi-Fi deployments depending on the size, budgets, and the nature of their activities. SMBs differ in their patterns of Wi-Fi adoption, deployments, upgrades, 802.11n migration plans and their interest in a managed Wi-Fi security service, making them difficult to categorize, ABI analysts said.
The report specifically studied SMBs who operate Cisco and Linksys (News - Alert) Wi-Fi equipment and the reasons behind their choices. It also explains the similarities as well as the important differences between SMB Wi-Fi customers who operate Cisco (News - Alert)-branded and Linksys- branded Wi-Fi equipment.
According to ABI Research vice president and research director, Stan Schatt, “To understand the SMB Wi-Fi market as a whole, it’s instructive to examine the customers of the market-leading vendor, Cisco/Linksys. The combined installed-base market share of the two brands is 50 percent, so their customers are truly representative of the whole market.”
Both Cisco and Linksys offer WLAN equipment. Cisco acquired Linksys in 2003 and is now a branch of Cisco systems but products continue to be sold under the Linksys brand name.
According Stan Schatt, before the acquisition, Cisco tended to serve the enterprise, and Linksys was more consumer-oriented. But post acquisition, Schatt said Cisco had successfully segmented its SMB customers into Linksys-branded and Cisco-branded equipment purchasers.
The report details the similarities in the two groups of SMBs who use Cisco and Linksys Wi-Fi equipment. Both groups are interested in migration to 802.11n, with 45 percent of Cisco and 41 percent of Linksys customers having definite plans to upgrade, and the majority of these upgrades are planned within the next 12 months.
However, the report findings on channels where SMB respondents purchased their Wi-Fi equipment indicate that a Linksys SMB customer is most likely to purchase Wi-Fi equipment from an online retailer or a bricks-and-mortar retailer. SMB customers of Cisco-branded Wi-Fi equipment are far more likely to purchase their equipment from a WLAN VAR (value added reseller) or directly from the manufacturer.
In terms of network security issues, there are again both similarities and differences between the groups. According to Schatt, most SMBs do not have time or resources to manage security. Thus there is an opportunity for a managed WLAN security monitoring service. Schatt added that nearly half of the SMBs surveyed expressed an interest in such a service.
The research brief forms part of ABI Research’s report on Wi-Fi Research Service.
Nitya Prashant is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of Nitya's articles, please visit her columnist page.
Edited by Michelle Robart