Summary:

Intersil pre-announced today ? making public one of the little reported trends. Intersil revised its Q4 revenue growth expectation from up 1%-2% quarter-over-quarter to down 5%-7% quarter-over-quarter growth. The weakness was caused primarily by an overbuild of older- generation PRISM 2.5 WLAN chips in Q3, and […]

Intersil pre-announced today ? making public one of the little reported trends. Intersil revised its Q4 revenue growth expectation from up 1%-2% quarter-over-quarter to down 5%-7% quarter-over-quarter growth. The weakness was caused primarily by an overbuild of older- generation PRISM 2.5 WLAN chips in Q3, and by Intersil’s inability to meet strong demand for PRISM 3 WLAN chipsets during the quarter.

Merrill Lynch analyst Joe Osha points out that Intersil?s WLAN revenues will grow only 11% year-over-year to $270 million in FY03, on unit growth of 36%. Silver lining ? consumers will be able to buy equipment really cheap since the average selling price of the components is going to be down by almost 18%.
The sales of Wi-Fi equipment have slowed recently, even though it does not seem a permanent slowdown. There is too much hype around W-Fi right now; especially in the mainstream press. In recent weeks The New York Times (Wi-Fi Boom) and Business Week have both discovered the WiFi with a renewed vigor. There are a lot of issues which need to be addressed before the Wireless LAN technology becomes mainstream and painless.

The recent launch of Cometa Networks, the corporate version of Project Rainbow, which is backed by AT&T, Intel and IBM have added more froth to this new “cool” technology. I think it will be long time before these guys will get anywhere. I have more faith in the open-source networks such as NYCWireless.net. I think within two years guys like Cometa and Boingo and other so called commerical Wi-Fi ISPs will at best be limping along. WiFi is a community tool; and that is what makes it so special. Nevertheless I would keep a close eye on this.

Meanwhile if you are looking for painless; and easy to use gear ? I can recommend buying dirt-cheap and very sexy-looking offerings from Microsoft. I agree with The New York Times and David Pogue on Microsoft’s new networking gear. I have tried many different brands and can safely tell you that Microsoft, Buffalo Technology and Linksys are the most affordable and easy to use options. And if your are looking for more answers on WiFi; we recommend you check out Glenn Fleishman?s book, The Wireless Networking Starter Kit (by Adam Engst and Glenn Fleishman) and buy it directly from the publisher Peachpit Press Fleishman also maintains an excellent blog on all things Wi-Fi

By Om Malik

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