While wireless local area network (LAN) technology was once thought of as being costly and low-performance new advances will make it a booming market in Europe by 2006, according to a study released today.

The main drive behind the increase in value in the wireless LAN market will be the entry of major industry players, including Compaq, 3Com and Nokia into the market, according to market research company Frost & Sullivan, the U.K. branch of U.S.-based Frost & Sullivan.

The wireless LAN market is currently valued at £75 million in Europe, according to the study, but the introduction of 11Mbps (bits per second) direct sequence products will push the market deeper into the mainstream. Direct sequence products are faster than products based on other wireless technologies.

But the European market still has a long way to go before it catches up with the U.S. "The U.S. is quite a bit more advanced; wireless LAN products have come out a lot faster and dropped in price faster," Jan ten Sythoff, U.K.-based Industry Analyst at Frost & Sullivan said.