A Look at Enterprise Wi-Fi Market Growth
Greater digital dependence means the enterprise Wi-Fi market will also keep growing—here are some key stats and drivers impacting the industry
- The pandemic spurred reduced activity, cost-cutting, and a global shift to remote work that mitigated enterprise Wi-Fi investment in 2020
- The enterprise Wi-Fi market still grew by 1.9% in 2020 and is expected to grow 9.1% this year
- Wi-Fi 6, IoT, digital transformation, and contactless experiences are some key drivers of industry growth
Enterprises rapidly adopted digital tools, automation, AI, and cloud dependence before the pandemic, and these initiatives were all impacted by COVID and the sudden transition to remote work in 2020.
Benchmarks representing business success had to be altered based on the realities of an economic downturn. IT leaders are now tasked with ensuring that workers have a similar level of network performance from many different locations instead of one office. At the same time, dependence on digital tools grew tremendously, straining productivity and demanding adaptable solutions.
These challenges have impacted the enterprise Wi-Fi market significantly, but one thing is certain: it continues to grow. Let’s examine what the industry looks like now and some key market drivers.
The state of the market
The pandemic caused disruptions across industries, and Wi-Fi is no exception. An IDC report showed that enterprise Wi-Fi network investments fell 4.6% since March 2020. But the Wi-Fi market still ended up growing 1.9% in 2020, even as many companies closed their offices temporarily or permanently. IDC research shows that Wi-Fi investments are picking up significantly in 2021 and are expected to grow 9.1% this year.
The WLAN market for enterprise and consumer equipment was up 10.9% in 2020, and IDC says this is primarily due to campus upgrades to Wi-Fi 6. The market intelligence firm expects devices with this new standard to represent more than 65% of Wi-Fi revenues next year.
Another report estimates that the global Wi-Fi market will reach $25.2 billion by 2026, growing at a CAGR of 17.8% between 2020 to 2026. In addition, Gartner projects that overall IT spending will increase 8.4% in 2021 and expand in all measured areas, including devices (14%), enterprise software (10.8%), communication services (4.6%), and others.
Digital transformation initiatives
One prominent industry driver is the increase in enterprise digital transformation, the practice of implementing new technologies to streamline processes and create a more digitally-dependent organization. This trend was already accelerating before the pandemic, and digitally transformed organizations are expected to make up more than half of global GDP by 2023.
Automation is becoming part of more business workflows, streamlining once tedious routines. Companies are integrating mission-critical applications to keep productivity high, and they also need responsive, cost-efficient networking solutions.
IoT device adoption
Another major player for enterprise Wi-Fi continues to be the Internet of Things (IoT). Businesses are adopting more smart “things” to make processes more efficient. Enterprise IoT includes networks of cloud applications, enhanced sensors, and a range of communication platforms that talk to each other and help businesses integrate automation at every level. And IoT simply cannot function as intended without robust Wi-Fi.
Pandemic restrictions have caused enterprises to take another look at how they deliver services and interact with customers. There is a greater need for Wi-Fi to support new initiatives like contact-free kiosks to place orders, mobile check-ins for hospital patients, mobile QR codes at restaurants for menu access, remote learning opportunities for students, virtual payments, and more. These realities impact most industries, and Wi-Fi is critical to ensuring these initiatives are successful.
How 7SIGNAL helps manage and monitor the modern enterprise WLAN network
Investing in the right WLAN infrastructure is only part of the Wi-Fi puzzle for enterprises. It’s also crucial to increase visibility into how it's performing—beyond the access point—so that connections thrive and productivity isn’t impacted. Businesses must protect the investments they’re making to increase ROI.
7SIGNAL provides Wi-Fi experience monitoring solutions that give enterprises the insights they need. Our platform delivers root-cause-problem data on any endpoint or network, so IT leaders can better understand the digital experiences of their users.
7SIGNAL® is the leader in wireless experience monitoring, providing insight into wireless networks and control over Wi-Fi performance so businesses and organizations can thrive. Our cloud-based wireless network monitoring platform continually tests and measures Wi-Fi performance at the edges of the network, enabling fast solutions to digital experience issues and stronger connections for mission-critical users, devices, and applications. Learn more at www.7signal.com.