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Parts shortage forces wireless LAN vendor to delay product announcement

On Wednesday I reported that many wireless LAN vendors are having supply chain problems. The semiconductor manufacturers who supply key components for wireless LAN access points are struggling to deliver enough parts to WLAN vendors. The result is long backlogs of orders at some companies.

Next week a major wireless LAN vendor was planning to announce a new 802.11n access point. That announcement has now been delayed due to a parts shortage.

As is often the case in business reporting, I agreed to embargo, or hold back, the details of this product until the vendor officially makes the announcement. Because of this, I am ethically bound not to say who the vendor is or mention any details about the product. So for now, I can just say that a leading wireless LAN vendor has pushed back the announcement of a new 802.11n access point by a week. In their words, this delay is directly due to a parts shortage. The company has a policy that it won’t announce a product until it has enough component parts available to ship the  product in high volume within 45 days of an announcement. Apparently the vendor needs another week in order to get enough parts on hand to meet this policy.

If you are planning a major wireless LAN investment before the end of this year, i suggest you ask your shortlist vendors about their supply chain. It sounds like this problem is affecting quite a few vendors. Many of them have managed to deliver most of their customers’ orders, but their inventories are dwindling.  The ratification of 802.11n by the IEEE will only exacerbate this problem because conservative companies who are reluctant to adopt draft standard technology will now be moving forward with 802.11n projects.

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