As the traditional worldwide enterprise wireless local area network (WLAN) market experiences relative maturation and the lofty gains of the past two years begin to flatten, the WLAN market for cloud-managed Wi-Fi presents notable growth opportunities in both hardware and services.
According to new research from International Data Corporation (IDC), worldwide cloud-managed infrastructure and managed services revenue will reach $653 million in 2014 and $2.5 billion by 2018.
In recent years, cloud-managed Wi-Fi growth has been fueled by increased adoption in the midmarket and distributed enterprise (e.g., retail, K-12 education).
"Enterprises are seeing the big picture and definitely considering cloud-managed Wi-Fi for their remote sites when upgrading their networks," says Rohit Mehra, Vice President, Network Infrastructure, IDC.
"These upgraded network architectures can accommodate unique needs around bring your own device (BYOD), scalability, application visibility and management."
Today, having a strong, robust wireless network is mandatory for enterprises, and the proliferation of BYOD and mission-critical network applications has helped drive new wireless LAN deployments within a growing number of enterprise segments.
Cloud-managed Wi-Fi, with its central manageability, smaller physical footprint, and linear scalability, is a viable option for these enterprises.
Additional findings from IDC's research include the following:
* Leaner IT staffs are challenged with provisioning, troubleshooting, and maintaining more sophisticated networks.
* Cloud-managed Wi-Fi belies the prevailing trend in enterprise IT of "everything as a service".
* Vendors and channel partners are enabling simplified deployments through extensive managed services offerings.
* One of the most appealing benefits of cloud-managed Wi-Fi is the ability to provide automated provisioning and configuration.
* Delivering the network over the cloud helps shift spending from capex to opex.
The IDC study, Cloud-Managed WiFi Set to Grow to $2.5 Billion by 2018 (IDC #247738), examines the market trends and opportunity for the cloud-managed segment of the enterprise WLAN market for 2011–2018.
It covers both IEEE 802.11–compliant cloud-managed WLAN (Wi-Fi) hardware and the adjacent services market.
This research covers worldwide cloud-managed enterprise Wi-Fi access points (APs), management and control software and platforms, and the surrounding managed services market.
Also, it examines cloud-managed Wi-Fi as a change that is likely to have a long-lasting impact on how enterprise networks are deployed in the future.