Small firms lead charge to 802.11n Wi-Fi

Small firms lead charge to 802.11n Wi-Fi

But adoption will vary widely across vertical sectors

The healthcare, education, and small business sectors will be the most enthusiastic adopters of the emerging 802.11n Wi-Fi standard, experts predicted today.

ABI Research noted that the enhanced speed and functionality available in 802.11n Wi-Fi equipment will result in high levels of adoption, but went on to forecast that adoption will be “far from uniform” across vertical sectors.

“In the United States, you have close to a one in three chance of finding Wi-Fi in any business you visit,” said Stan Schatt, networking research director and vice president at ABI Research.

“In certain key markets such as healthcare, retail, and hospitality, Wi-Fi penetration rates are far higher.”

Penetration, though, is just the first phase of Wi-Fi growth, according to Schatt. “There’s enormous potential for Wi-Fi equipment vendors in adding Voice over Wi-Fi and location-aware asset management and security applications,” he added.

“Healthcare offers an object lesson. Hospitals use Wi-Fi-enabled applications for mobile physician rounding, patient admission, electronic records management and blood transfusion verification, as well as dozens of other tasks. Retailers use Wi-Fi for applications such as queue busting, security, asset management, and point-of-sale. Down the road, video over Wi-Fi will be particularly attractive in markets such as higher education.”

A new ABI Research brief entitled Wi-Fi Vertical Market Segmentation in the United States: Where Are the Best Opportunities for 802.11n? predicts higher education, healthcare, and some specific segments of small and medium-sized business (SMBs) as the likely early adopters for 802.11n.