Why current Wireless LANs will remain a complimentary network solution; its all about performance……and why that may be about to change.
Current widely-deployed Wireless LAN technologies – primarily 802.11B & G – provide great performance in the home environment, with few users, low traffic levels and the usually more limiting factor of the performance of a broadband Internet link itself in play.
These technologies have now also been used in the Corporate environment for some time and life has not proved so simple there, where demands are far more onerous. I believe the underlying limits of current generation WLAN technologies, when set against the widespread deployment of Enterprise wired networks with much higher and, as importantly, more consistent performance, will mean they are used to enhance them, not replace them.
The advent of the, as-yet-unratified, 802.11n enhanced WLAN standard may yet knock holes in this viewpoint; after all it promises a combination of much-improved throughput and range. If it is to do so, however, it must crack the problems inherent in scaling up WLAN for the enterprise and these have proved difficulty for 802.11A/B/G.
It’s worthwhile remembering that a large number of factors affect Wireless LAN performance and many will apply equally to 802.11n as they do to A, B & G. Some of them are blindingly obvious, but as many are relatively obscure.
Wireless Network Managers should be aware of them all…