It's time for another quarter's market share figures, and wireless LANs vendors are picking them over for good news.
Dell'Oro has published figures that say say it's been a good quarter, with $390 million in enterprise Wi-Fi, with Cisco increasing its already dominant market share slightly, and the next two, Aruba and Motorola (Symbol) increasing in step - so staying more or less flat in market share.
Everyone wants share at this stage. There's still only a 15 percent penetration of WLANs into business, says Dell'Oro's Elmer Choy, and everyone believes we're on the verge of a surge - with a lot of wireless LANs going in on the strength of the new 802.11n (pre) standard.
So Cisco is very pleased with Dell'Oro's report that it has 63 percent of the enterprise WLAN market, and has increased its share of the controller segment of that market, by four percent. Cisco's Ben Gibson also quotes figures from Synergy Research.
I'm going to have a good go at digesting the same figures, but I'm spotting a few interesting things which show that, as usual, the same figures can prove different things. Synergy's figures differ slightly from Dell'Oro's because the two analyst firms slice the technology slightly differently, and I can see that Synergy gives Aruba a slow increase in market share of controllers, and Cisco's quarter may be an increase on the previous quarter, but it's pretty much the same as the third quarter of last year.
Two other things. Firstly, Cisco's overall enterprise figures still include a substantial amount of standalone access points, that aren't attached to a centralised controller. Smaller players like Aruba, Meru and Trapeze are focused on thin, dependent access points - where, to be sure they still trail Cisco, despite Cisco's late arrival through its purchase of Airespace.
The other point that is going to come out often in the next little while, is the overall importance of WLANs in vendor strategies. Cisco wants to sell wired networks, and will sell wireless as an add-on, and could even possibly use it as a loss-leader to promote its wired networks. HP (whose Symbol-based Procurve wireless modules are starting to show up in market share surveys) has the same options.
The other vendors are focussed on wireless. Buoyed up by 802.11n's performance promise, Aruba, along with Trapeze and Meru, will be pushing the idea that wireless LANs can actually replace wired access to the corporate LAN.
Now, I'm not sure the extent to which any IT managers are going to go for that idea, given the untried nature of 802.11n in the enterprise, but these contrasting approaches are s going to be a clear difference between Cisco (and other wired-centric companies) and the wireless LAN specialists in the next little while.