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Issue #2003 - 23 (August 2003)
(Updated Aug. 19, 2003)


WiFi News This Week

1. Tech Developer Airgo Moves from Stealth to Promo Mode
Recently stepping out of stealth mode, Silicon Valley startup Airgo revealed development plans for a new local area technology, Multiple In, Multiple Out (MIMO), that uses smart antenna technology to increase mobile data rates to 108 Mbps and extend the range of 802.11 networks to 150 meters. Airgo's financial backers include Nokia Venture Partners, OVP Venture Partners, Accel Partners and Sevin Rosen Funds. (Source: New York Times)

2. 802.11g continues to drive WLAN market
Research firm Dell'Oro Group reports that the 802.11 market grew by 2 percent, claiming revenues of $419 million in the second quarter of 2003. As was the case for the first quarter of 2003, total unit shipments increased by 6 percent. 802.11b revenues declined for the second consecutive quarter, but 802.11g revenues grew by a whopping 48 percent, accounting for 24 percent of total 802.11 market revenue. With 802.11g products reaching the market, vendors have been more aggressive slashing prices of 802.11b products. During the second quarter, prices in each 802.11b product category declined by an average of 10 percent. "We anticipate that market growth will accelerate [in the second-half of 2003] as back-to-school purchases fuel growth in the third quarter and holiday sales boost the market in the fourth quarter," commented Greg Collins, Director, Dell'Oro Group.

Dell'Orro offered these figures for the 802.11 total market (including enterprise and SOHO-class access points/bridges, broadband gateways, and NICs for 802.11b, 802.11g, and multimode): The total market MFG revenue for the second quarter was $419 million. The ranking of 802.11 vendors: Cisco, Buffalo, Linksys*, D-Link, and NETGEAR.

* Linksys' market position moved from first to third in the second quarter owing to a one-time change in revenue recognition policy following Cisco's acquisition of the company. Prior to this change, the total market would have increased 8 percent on a revenue basis and 15 percent on a unit shipment basis. Similarly, Linksys' total revenue market share would have been 18 percent, placing them in the top position.

3. McDonald's expands Wi-Fi offerings to its Midwest locations
Burger-chain McDonald's continues to expand its Wi-Fi offering, with more of its stores in the Midwest now installing WLANs. The company announced yesterday that it would offer Internet access inside 100 locations in the Chicago and Milwaukee areas. Sixty of the 100 locations are already on-line; the rest will be in place by September. An hour of wireless access at McDonald's costs $4.95, and a continuous 24-hour connection costs $7.95. The company already sells Internet access inside 75 locations in the San Francisco Bay Area and New York City. McDonald's relies on arrangements with three different companies to provide the equipment, install it, and run the day-to-day operations: Toshiba in the Midwest, Cometa Networks in New York, and Wayport in the San Francisco Bay Area. McDonald's indicates that it expects to make more money from selling more meals at the Wi-Fi-equipped stores, rather than from Internet access rental.

4. Blame game starts as Wi-Fi Bubble pops
Source : The Register and Newsweek

A splendid and visceral story by Karen Lowry Miller in the current issue of Newsweek entitled 'The Wi-Fi Bubble' shines an unforgiving light on the public hot-spot mania - and the hypesters responsible for it. 

The article doesn't make for uplifting reading, but it is a welcome counter to the juvenilia that accompanies the gushy reporting of Wi-Fi build-out. While no one doubts that 802.11 will form a ubiquitous part of computer communications for the next several years - a standard dongle, if you like - Miller strips away the hype by asking a painfully simple question: "Can you make money from public hotspots?" And the answer seems to be a pile of Emperor's New Clothes

MobileInfo Comments and Advisory: Watch out for Airgo's new product. We welcome its unique advances to increase the coverage and speed of Wi-Fi at thesame time by using specially-designed antennas. We call that genuine advancement in the state-of-art - rather than just me-too and another Wi-Fi vendor.

Note: This news release may contain forward-looking statements within the meaning of section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933 and section 21E of Securities Exchange act of 1934 in USA. Similar provisions exist in other countries. There is no assurance that the stipulated plans of vendors will be implemented. MobileInfo does not warrant the authenticity of the information. Readers should take appropriate caution in developing plans utilizing these products, services and technology architectures.  All trademarks used in this summary are the property of their respective owners.

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