Study shows SMBs want to migrate to 802.11n

03 Sep 2008

Small and medium businesses (SMBs) have varying degrees of wireless networking adoption but most of them want to upgrade to 802.11n, according to ABI Research.

ABI recently conducted a study of Cisco/Linksys customers, which, when combined, account for more than 50 percent of the market.

Depending on their size, budgets, and the nature of their activities, the study showed SMBs reveal very different patterns of WiFi adoption, deployments, upgrades, and attitudes to security.

Prior to Cisco's acquisition of Linksys, both companies offered WLAN equipment, although Cisco tended to serve the enterprise, and Linksys was more consumer-oriented.

Post-acquisition, Cisco has done an excellent job of segmenting its SMB customers into Linksys- and Cisco-branded equipment purchasers, noted ABI vice president and research director Stan Schatt.

Results indicate that both groups are interested in migration to 802.11n, with 45% of Cisco and 41% of Linksys customers indicating definite plans to upgrade, and overwhelming majorities of these intending to act within the next 12 months.

However, a Linksys SMB customer is most likely to purchase WiFi equipment from an online retailer or a bricks-and-mortar retailer. SMB customers of Cisco-branded WiFi equipment are far more likely to purchase their equipment from a value added reseller or directly from the manufacturer.

Network security issues also show both similarities and differences between the groups.

"SMBs don't have time or resources to manage security," Schatt said. "A real opportunity exists for a managed WLAN security monitoring service. In fact, nearly half of those surveyed expressed an interest in such a service."

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