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5/22/2007
02:05 PM
Stephen Wellman
Stephen Wellman
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High-Performance Wireless LAN Is Key To Business Mobility

There has been a lot of talk about improving the performance of the wireless LAN here at this year's Interop. Why do IT departments need high-performance Wi-Fi? Without it, initiatives like business mobility and unified communications will go nowhere fast.

There has been a lot of talk about improving the performance of the wireless LAN here at this year's Interop. Why do IT departments need high-performance Wi-Fi? Without it, initiatives like business mobility and unified communications will go nowhere fast.All this talk about voice over Wi-Fi and dual-mode access is cool, but if the campus Wi-Fi system is some legacy 802.11b deployment, it just ain't gonna work. And most Wi-Fi systems today were state of the art in 2002, but far from that today.

In order to accommodate next-generation access, two things are really needed. The first is more bandwidth, which 802.11n supposedly will solve. If it ever, you know, actually makes it to market.

The second is improved WLAN management. Simply put, if IT managers expect to run voice, video, collaboration, and other high-demand applications on their Wi-Fi networks, those networks are going to need to be every bit as efficient as their wireline systems. We're much closer to this reality today than we were even two years ago, but we're still a ways off. The fact that there are Wi-Fi networking startups still competing with Cisco after all these years is evidence that the WLAN management and performance nut has not yet been fully cracked.

The hard truth about this is that we're still waiting for 802.11n after four years of promise and hype. And we're still waiting for the perfect WLAN system, too.

Does this mean that dual-mode access and business mobility are destined to flop? What do you think?

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