802.11n: Myth vs. Reality - 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
Mobile
Commentary
3/21/2008
01:40 PM
Fredric Paul
Fredric Paul
Commentary
50%
50%

802.11n: Myth vs. Reality

Most people think of the upcoming 802.11n Wi-Fi standard as the best thing since wireless bread -- who doesn't want more speed and longer range? But even wireless vendors acknowledge that the hype may have overtaken the reality.

Most people think of the upcoming 802.11n Wi-Fi standard as the best thing since wireless bread -- who doesn't want more speed and longer range? But even wireless vendors acknowledge that the hype may have overtaken the reality.Ruckus CEO Selina Lo points out that 802.11n employs a host of new parameters such as frame aggregation, channel bonding, multiple Wi-Fi radios, and multi-path signaling to dramatically increase the capacity and range of Wi-Fi. But all that newness has also fostered a number of misconceptions:

1. 802.11n solves all things wireless. Nope. 802.11n remains highly susceptible to degrading performance at a distance.

2. 802.11n will offer 100 Mbps and more everywhere all the time. We wish. 802.11ns performance degradation means these performance levels will be achieved SOME of the time, not all the time.

3. Interference is not an issue with 802.11n. 802.11n solves the Wi-Fi speed, but not reliability, so interference is still an issue.

4. 802.11n will eclipse 802.11g for client use. Sure, eventually. But there are still a lot of legacy systems out there, and they wont go away any time soon.

5. The raw capacity of 802.11n makes multimedia support over Wi-Fi a non-issue. Baloney. With applications like voice and video, it's not about bandwidth capacity, it's about delay, and 802.11n alone is not the answer there.

Given these realities, when and where should 802.11n first be deployed? According to Ruckus, a prime initial application of 802.11n is as a backhaul wireless technology for aggregating 802.11g client traffic through a meshed wireless network. This approach doesnt require a huge investment to get some 802.11 benefits, while continuing to leverage legacy 802.11g systems and clients. Personally, though, Id push on ahead and convert as many access points and client systems as quickly as you can afford. You simply cant have too much bandwidth, and Im convinced that faster connections almost always pay for themselves in productivity gains. Ive already converted my home router, for example, even though several of my machines still use 802.11g, or even 802.11b. I mean, who wants to wait?

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
InformationWeek Is Getting an Upgrade!

Find out more about our plans to improve the look, functionality, and performance of the InformationWeek site in the coming months.

News
How SolarWinds Changed Cybersecurity Leadership's Priorities
Jessica Davis, Senior Editor, Enterprise Apps,  5/26/2021
Commentary
How CIOs Can Advance Company Sustainability Goals
Lisa Morgan, Freelance Writer,  5/26/2021
Slideshows
IT Skills: Top 10 Programming Languages for 2021
Cynthia Harvey, Freelance Journalist, InformationWeek,  5/21/2021
White Papers
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
2021 State of ITOps and SecOps Report
2021 State of ITOps and SecOps Report
This new report from InformationWeek explores what we've learned over the past year, critical trends around ITOps and SecOps, and where leaders are focusing their time and efforts to support a growing digital economy. Download it today!
Video
Current Issue
Planning Your Digital Transformation Roadmap
Download this report to learn about the latest technologies and best practices or ensuring a successful transition from outdated business transformation tactics.
Slideshows
Flash Poll