High-Speed Wi-Fi Ready to Take Off? - InformationWeek

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Commentary
1/13/2009
08:33 AM
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High-Speed Wi-Fi Ready to Take Off?

Mobility has become quite popular in small and medium companies. The flexibility that wireless communications delivers helps to improve productivity and streamline business processes, so many corporations have deployed Wi-Fi LANs. Suppliers think that businesses are ready to move up to 100M bps wireless connections, but economic conditions may delay that migration.

Mobility has become quite popular in small and medium companies. The flexibility that wireless communications delivers helps to improve productivity and streamline business processes, so many corporations have deployed Wi-Fi LANs. Suppliers think that businesses are ready to move up to 100M bps wireless connections, but economic conditions may delay that migration.Vendors began shipping high speed 802.11n devices in the last few years, but they are not as popular as lower cost, lower speed 802.11g devices. Cisco is the latest vendor trying to change that equation. The company thinks the Cisco Aironet 1140 Series Access Points integrated functionality, high performance, and simple deployment will make the higher speed systems more popular.

The access point features integrated security features as well as support for the Power over Ethernet (PoE) standard. Cisco has also developed M-Drive Technology, a set of features to enhance wireless network performance. The first item under this banner is ClientLink, a feature that uses beam forming to improve the throughput of 802.11a/g devices, increase overall wireless channel capacity, and reduce wireless coverage holes for legacy devices. Miercom, an independent testing and analysis lab, said ClientLink increases the total available channel capacity by as much as 27 percent. The new access point features a simple to deploy design. The Cisco Aironet 1140 Series Access Point is available now with a list price of $1,299.

Like competitors, Cisco anticipates that 2009 may be a key year for 802.11g products, however, the market still faces a few hurdles. It is unclear if small and medium businesses need the extra bandwidth that 802.11g products offer. Perhaps as more video applications arrive that will help to the case for switching, but if employees are transmitting text documents, lower speed networks should suffice.

Also, pricing for 802.11n devices is much higher than 802.11g options. On a related note, the economic downturn may adversely impact this market. While some companies may be ready to move to higher speed wireless links, they may not have the money to do so. Cisco  as well as other wireless vendors  anticipates a shift to high speed Wi-Fi networks this year, a change that may or may not play out.

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