LAN/WAN test equipment market shows promise

Increasing demand for higher bandwidth and faster connectivity for e-commerce, videoconferencing, multimedia, and other applications will drive growth in the LAN and WAN test and monitoring equipment market, according to a report by Frost & Sullivan (San Jose, CA). The multiplication of enterprise networks should further boost the demand for test equipment.

The LAN/WAN test equipment industry generated revenues of $854 million in 2001 and should offer significant opportunities in the future, the report says. Escalating demand for test equipment used in network installation and maintenance, research and development, and manufacturing should push total revenues to $1.45 billion by 2008.

Despite the market's promise, however, LAN/WAN test equipment makers will have to fine-tune their business strategies to overcome the serious effects of the recent economic downturn, say analysts. Reducing the time-to-market must be a key part of these revised plans. "Manufacturers of LAN/ WAN test equipment face the challenge of developing state-of-the-art test equipment fast enough to meet end-user demand," says Frost & Sullivan research analyst Sailaja Vepa. "Network technologies evolve rapidly; hence, equipment that tests those technologies must develop just as quickly." To sustain sales, test equipment vendors must track emerging standards, quickly incorporate those standards into test equipment designs, then reduce product development time.

According to Vepa, transitioning from protocol analysis to performance analysis should offer additional opportunities. "The advance of test equipment from mere protocol analyzers to sophisticated performance analyzers is more evident now than ever," she says.

While protocol analyzers focus on connections, examining a specific point in the network at a given time, performance analyzers monitor the overall network level of activity. "End users place high value on performance analyzers, because they can provide a range of problem-solving applications in an easy-to-use interface," explains Vepa. "Test equipment manufacturers that offer performance analyzers are likely to achieve increased sales."

For more information on the report, "World LAN/WAN Test Equipment Markets," visit www.frost.com.

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