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					                                                              The 802.11n land grab
                                                                 By Dave Rosenberg, 12/2009




Although it wasn’t ratified until        pros and cons. Cable (wired) handles     here and a little wireless there – to
September, the 802.11n wireless          unlimited users without effecting        well-planned and well-executed
networking standard has been             throughput, while wireless is shared     rollouts of wireless as the primary
around for quite some time. In fact,     – the more users the less throughput     network access technology.
the seven-year journey to ratification   each one gets. On the other hand
officially involved more than 400        wireless is far less expensive and       Such a transition may require
individuals ranging from equipment       easier to deploy so this is a key        wired upgrades as well, since 11n
and silicon suppliers, service           benefit in new construction.             gear really needs to be connected
providers, systems integrators,                                                   to a gig switch and not just a
consultant organizations, and            802.11n has been around forever          10/100 switch (another reason
academic institutions from more          it seems. Realistically, will            why many have held off until
than 20 countries.                       ratification translate to a surge in     now). I also think the managed
                                         deployments?                             wireless LAN market will be in its
After reading that this de facto         Botelho: Many enterprises held off       heyday as most customers choose
standard was now in fact an actual       with 11n upgrades (and therefore         a complete, managed wireless LAN
standard I asked Jay Botelho,            wireless upgrades in general) for        solution over DIY deployments of
director of product management           fear that the ratified spec would        gear from the likes of CDW.
at network monitoring and                be substantially different from the
troubleshooting vendor                   Draft2.0 spec (the one the Wi-Fi         What about upgrades from
WildPackets, if becoming a true          Alliance based its pre-ratification      preratified 802.11n deployments?
standard means anything to the           certification tests on). Now that this   Any considerations?
industry and the vendors that            question is no longer an issue, and      Botelho: I really don’t see much
support it.                              since there’s probably some pent-        activity here. Most preratification
                                         up demand since wireless upgrades        11n gear, with the exception of
Q: What are the benefits of              in general may have been put on          those predating Draft2.0 and the
802.11n?                                 hold, it is expected that there will     Wi-Fi Alliance (WFA) precertification
Jay Botelho: The biggest benefit         be a surge in deployments. As an         testing, will work just fine in the
by far is more throughput                aside, there is very little difference   post-ratification era. In fact, gear that
– significantly more throughput          between the Draft2.0 version and         was certified by the WFA against
– from a theoretical maximum             the ratified version.                    Draft2.0 is being grandfathered in
of 54Mbps to 600Mbps with the                                                     against the ratified standard--the
right hardware configuration. It         Give me a sense of the upgrade           changes in mandatory features are
is this leap in throughput that          process from older standards.            really that insignificant.
makes applications like Voice over       Botelho: I think this will be the
WLAN (VoWLAN) and even video             bulk of the upgrades. People will        What do you expect will be some
over wireless feasible. It is also       upgrade (a) for the bandwidth            of the challenges 802.11n will
the reason why the claim is being        and (b) because a/b/g (previous          have to overcome in 2010?
made that 11n will drive more new        standards) hardware will just get        Botelho: I see challenges with
installations to be wireless-only.       harder and harder to purchase. I         wireless management and the
                                         think what we’re seeing with 11n is      convergence of wired/wireless
I wouldn’t go so far as to say 11n is    a real transition from somewhat ad-      management. Most wireless
more viable than cable – each has its    hoc deployments – a little wireless      monitoring and management tools
available today were designed           wired/wireless management                  two on the receive side. 11n can
with the needs of a b/g network in      systems are not ready for prime-           support up to “4x4” systems,
mind. As stated above, with a 10x       time, and it’s unclear if they ever will   and it is only at this level that the
increase in throughput the amount       be truly integrated. The two systems       theoretical maximums of 600Mbps
of data to analyze goes up by the       are just different, and require            are met. Though a great deal of time
same factor. In many cases, this is a   different views into the data and          and testing have gone into the 11n
re-architecture of the software.        different types of fault detection.        specification to ensure compatibility,
                                                                                   I remain a bit skeptical as to how all
Users [IT staff] will also be looking   One other possible challenge is            this will roll out, especially when it
for combined wired/wireless             the overall development of 11n as          comes to interoperability.
management systems. This has            a technology. Up until now, most
                                                                                   Reprinted from Cnet http://news.cnet.com/8301-
driven some recent acquisition          systems have been “2x2” systems,           13846_3-10407133-62.html
activity, like Fluke purchasing         meaning they employ two data
AirMagnet. At this point, combined      streams on the transmit side and

				
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Description: 802.11n Wi-Fi Alliance is back in 802.11a/b/g wireless transmission of a standard protocol, in order to achieve high bandwidth, high quality WLAN service, the wireless LAN to Ethernet performance levels, the 802.11 Task Group N (TGn ) came into being. To 2009 before the 802.11n standard has been formally approved the IEEE, but the use of MIMO OFDM technology in the industry have been many, including D-Link, Airgo, Bermai, Broadcom and Agere Systems, Atheros, Cisco, Intel, etc., including wireless LAN products , wireless routers, and has a lot on PC, laptop PCs.