The market for wireless local area network (WLAN) security technologies is growing "phenomenally", but vendors are struggling to keep up with the fast-moving nature of WLAN security threats, industry experts have warned.

According to the latest World WLAN Security Technologies Markets study from Frost & Sullivan, WLAN security providers face an uphill battle to develop offerings that keep pace with current security standards and exploits.

"The WLAN security solutions market is, however, a highly dynamic one," said Frost & Sullivan Industry Analyst Wai Sing Lee. "Network security is a moving target and threat is met with solution in an almost continuous cycle; hence, security is never absolutely assured."

The study observed that this profusion of prevailing standards is confusing for end users, forcing many of them to consider upgrading or even replacing their earlier WLAN deployments.

Frost & Sullivan also found that users are increasingly questioning the interoperability, upgradability, and compatibility between various WLAN standards, since they are naturally reluctant to adopt solutions that might soon require replacement.

"Market participants need to find ways to reassure end users about continued technological progress to increase enterprise WLAN adoptions," said Lee.

"New security standards such as Wi-Fi protected access (WPA) and the upcoming 802.11i specification are likely to help them do so."

In response to this challenge, virtually all providers are now attempting to move beyond simply security to a network management solution, Lee explained:  "They are either enhancing the functionalities of current solutions or forming partnerships with existing companies to gain entry into enterprise deployments."

The study reveals that the WLAN security market generated revenue of $135.2 million in 2003.

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