The cost of 802.11 wireless LAN equipment is set for a dramatic fall following the announcement that the makers of the key chipsets will cut their prices by about 75% in the next year.
The chipsets cost about USD16 today, but this could fall to only UD4 by this time next year, making the cost of manufacturing WLAN cards cheaper.
John Kirby, vice-president for global wireless at IBM, said the fall in price was being caused by higher volumes rather than any technical innovation.
“If you look at the volumes today they are very small, but look at the volumes you are going to see,” he said at the Mobile Enterprises exhibition in London in June. “Prices will halve within 18 months.”
However, he said for WLAN to take off, issues such as the different ways to connect in different places had to be sorted out.
“Technically this is not difficult,” he said, “We need to get the companies to agree. And to agree whether you pay by time or volume.”