More Businesses Deploy WLANs Throughout Buildings - InformationWeek

InformationWeek is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

IoT
IoT
News

More Businesses Deploy WLANs Throughout Buildings

Faster speeds, better security, and more applications spur deployment of pervasive wireless LANs.

While Wi-Fi hotspots have cropped up in coffee shops, convention centers, and hotel lobbies, businesses have been slow to adopt wireless LANs inside their offices and buildings or have deployed them only in a limited fashion. That's starting to change as the technology matures and new applications are introduced.

More than 60% of businesses have deployed wireless LANs, according to Forrester Research. And the size of those networks is growing, with the average number of access points per deployment doubling in the past year from 75 to 150. Businesses are expanding the reach of their WLANs from pilot projects in conference rooms and public areas to cover more workspace.

Cisco Systems and Hewlett-Packard disclosed plans last week to jointly help businesses deploy pervasive WLANs that span buildings and campuses and support emerging apps like voice over Wi-Fi and location-based services. Cisco will provide the wireless infrastructure, including its Catalyst 3750G WLAN switch, access points, a network management system, and its Unified Wireless Network software. HP will act as a systems integrator, helping companies design and deploy the networks and the applications and services that run on them.

More Than An Access Point

Cisco has bundled support for features such as security, guest access, voice over Wi-Fi, and location-based services into its WLAN switches. The technology can be used to locate and track workers with Wi-Fi-enabled devices and assets tagged with radio frequency identification chips. The system also has intrusion detection and prevention technology that can spot and locate unauthorized wireless devices, reducing a security threat that had caused some businesses to shy away from WLANs. That should let business technology managers start thinking of WLANs as an enabler of new apps and not just an access point to the Internet or the company intranet.

Verizon Business in June launched a service to help businesses and government agencies extend the reach of WLANs within office buildings and other facilities. Verizon installs WLAN equipment from Aruba Networks, which is popular among large customers because it provides centralized management for network security and policies. "These partnerships between HP and Cisco, as well as Verizon and Aruba, do show that the [WLAN] market has reached a maturity level," says Paul DeBeasi, an analyst at Burton Group.

The WLAN WaveOne strong selling point for WLANs is the ability to use the wireless network for voice calls, reducing the use of costly cell phones. But the key to making that work is good network coverage--dropped calls aren't acceptable. At the University of Moncton in New Brunswick, Canada, security guards equipped with Wi-Fi-enabled phones can make calls from anywhere on campus, says Jocelyn Nadeau, the university's IT director. Students in dorms also can move around from one room to another or to public areas with Wi-Fi-enabled phones without losing a network connection, he says. Soon the guards will be able to view video feeds from the school's IP security cameras on their phones.

Faster WLANs also may spur greater usage. Belkin, Buffalo Technology, Linksys, D-Link, Netgear, and other vendors offer gear based on a draft of the 802.11n standard, which promises speeds of around 200 Mbps over a distance of about 160 feet, around four times the range and 12 times the throughput of the current 802.11g standard. An industry group, the Wi-Fi Alliance, plans to start testing the gear next year to ensure interoperability, even though a standard isn't expected to be ratified until 2008. The faster data speeds and greater reach should make WLANs more appealing to businesses and let them more easily deploy the technology in a pervasive fashion, moving it out of the conference room and into more offices.

We welcome your comments on this topic on our social media channels, or [contact us directly] with questions about the site.
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
State of the Cloud
State of the Cloud
Cloud has drastically changed how IT organizations consume and deploy services in the digital age. This research report will delve into public, private and hybrid cloud adoption trends, with a special focus on infrastructure as a service and its role in the enterprise. Find out the challenges organizations are experiencing, and the technologies and strategies they are using to manage and mitigate those challenges today.
Commentary
Study Proposes 5 Primary Traits of Innovation Leaders
Joao-Pierre S. Ruth, Senior Writer,  11/8/2019
Slideshows
Top-Paying U.S. Cities for Data Scientists and Data Analysts
Cynthia Harvey, Freelance Journalist, InformationWeek,  11/5/2019
Slideshows
10 Strategic Technology Trends for 2020
Jessica Davis, Senior Editor, Enterprise Apps,  11/1/2019
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
Video
Current Issue
Getting Started With Emerging Technologies
Looking to help your enterprise IT team ease the stress of putting new/emerging technologies such as AI, machine learning and IoT to work for their organizations? There are a few ways to get off on the right foot. In this report we share some expert advice on how to approach some of these seemingly daunting tech challenges.
White Papers
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.
Sponsored Video
Flash Poll