Mike Wagner, director of worldwide marketing for Linksys, on Why Wireless Home Networking is in the Air in Europe
July 12, 2004
Kettles, fridges, wireless networks… if current trends continue, these could all be equally ubiquitous in the home before too long.
The freedom that residential Internet users in Europe are experiencing, on the back of growing use of broadband, is now being extended around the house thanks to wireless networking, which has dropped radically in price and improved significantly in ease-of-use over the last few years.
A home wireless network can be purchased for the price of a handful of CDs and configured in a matter of minutes, complete with Wi-Fi Protected Access security and connection speeds of up to 54 Mbit/s.
It allows laptop users to work, e-mail or surf the Internet from anywhere in the home; files to be shared between different computers around the house; and computer-based media - whether music or video - to be played on traditional stereos or televisions.
Cisco Systems® is helping to support this revolution in home working and entertainment through its consumer division, Linksys.
Founded in 1988, Linksys is the global leader in wireless and Ethernet networking for consumer and small office/home office (SoHo) users.
Linksys is dedicated to making networking easy and affordable for users, offering innovative, award-winning products that seamlessly integrate with a variety of devices and applications and providing first-class, round-the-clock product support to all its customers.
The excellence of Linksys's wired and wireless is reflected in a multitude of product awards in consumer publications in the US and Europe: PC Magazine, PC World, PC Pro, Network World, CRN, T3, Computer Shopper....
To find out how the company sees the home wireless networking market developing in Europe, News@Cisco spoke to Mike Wagner, director of worldwide marketing.
How does Europe compare to other parts of the world in terms of the acceptance and use of wireless home networking systems?
Mike Wagner: Europe today is seeing an accelerated growth in wireless networking. In the past 18 months, broadband adoption in the home has soared, leading to increased demand for wireless networks.
How quickly is the market for wireless home networking growing in Europe?
Mike Wagner: Between 2003 and 2004, the number of home networks in Europe will grow 59 percent, from 3.4 million homes to 5.5 million homes, according to an IDC report published in March.
What factors are driving this growth? Is demand greatest from the home entertainment or SoHo segments?
Mike Wagner: Broadband adoption is driving the growth in home networking. Typically, 62 percent of broadband customers will buy a home network within the first 12 months after adopting broadband.
By far the majority of broadband customers - 84 percent - implement a home network to share high speed Internet access.
What trends do you expect to see in the European home wireless networking market in the next 12 to 18 months?
Mike Wagner: Over the next 18 months, Wireless-G (802.11g) will replace 802.11b as the standard for wireless home networks. Wireless customers will buy additional devices for their network, including wireless game adapters, video cameras and media adapters.
Linksys introduced its first wireless devices for gamers in the United Kingdom in September 2003, with the release of the WGA11B (Wireless-B Game Adapter) and WGA54G (Wireless-G Game Adapter), the first network adapters of their kind designed strictly for use with gaming consoles.
Other new Linksys wireless home products were showcased at CeBIT this year, including video and audio devices enabling users to stream music and movies from their PC to a Hi-Fi or TV.
Linksys' Wireless-B Media Link for Music (WML11B), for example, allows users to listen to digital music on their living room stereo. With the Media Link, users can listen to MP3s, Windows Media Audio files and PC play lists on a home stereo, without running cables through the house.
The Media Link also offers access to thousands of global Internet radio stations and support for music streaming services. With optional speakers, the Media Link can also extend the same music to areas of the home without a stereo like the kitchen, patio or bedrooms.
How is Linksys currently positioned in the European market?
Mike Wagner: In 1999, Linksys started out in the UK, then moved into Germany and France in 2001. Following its acquisition by Cisco, Linksys sales in Europe have soared, growing more than 300 percent year over year between 2003 and 2004.
Most Recent NewsCisco Completes Acquisition of Ubiquisys
The Network Week in Review and Look Ahead: May 20-24
Goldman Sachs and Cisco to Host Conference Call on Cisco's Cloud Computing Strategy