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Study bullish on WLANs

'Subnet' to create boon for structured cabling market

January 1, 2008  

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Wireless is becoming another IP subnet on the enterprise’s core network, just like voice (VOIP) or video (video over IP), according to a recent report released by FTM Consulting Inc.

The structured cabling systems market for wireless local area networks (WLANs) is forecast to grow from US$202.5 million in 2007, at a cumulative average growth rate of 56.4%, to US$1.9 billion by 2012.

Frank Murawski, president of the Hummelstown, Pa. research firm, said the wireless local area network (WLAN) is being driven by new technology developments such as IEEE802.11n, which will provide improved performance (higher throughputs) and improved security features.

In addition, the universal acceptance of Wi-Fi and the new developing technology, Wi-Max, provide enterprises with standardized technologies for use of wireless within buildings.

Moreover, the release of the TIA/EIA 162 cabling standard in March 2006 provides a platform for deploying these new structured cabling systems.

These and other wireless developments, together with five-year forecasts for copper and fiber cabling are included within the report, entitled Wireless Structured Cabling Systems (SCS) Market.

Murawski notes that cubicles will always contain communications workstation physical connectivity as part of a building’s infrastructure.

When conditions arise such as overcrowded cabling ducts in large skyscrapers, new applications needing access to the network may have to resort to a wireless network, he writes: “In addition, wireless networks could become commonplace in conference rooms or boardrooms providing portable device access to the network.

“Both of these are exceptions to the larger market of physical cabling to the fixed workstation areas using structured cabling systems. Even in new office construction, it is expected that physical cabling systems will be deployed for the majority of the network users.”

As a result, wireless will typically be added to an existing network. This will still require physical cabling from the wireless access points (WAPs) to the telecommunications closets.

In terms of WLAN development, Murawski writes that early wireless local area networks suffered because of slow transmission speed, inadequate security protection and erratic service due to limited ranges and transmission limitations through office walls.

“(They) were limited to speeds of only 10 Mbps, while the network industry was already at 100 Mbps and planning to go to 1 Gbps. Security was lacking to authenticate valid users on the network and certain frequency bands had problems transmitting through physical partitions.”

Murawski says that during the early years of the forecast period, UTP copper cabling is prevalent, providing sufficient bandwidth for most data applications, at this point in time.

However, in the latter part, it is expected that fiber cabling will be used increasingly, especially as voice (VOWLAN) is added to wireless networks. The bandwidth of fiber cabling will be required to provide adequate response times for the voice transmissions and to provide acceptable voice quality.

Additional information on the report is available at or by calling (717) 533-4990.