Wireless by default, wired by exception – Part 1

It’s impossible to avoid wireless when talking network infrastructure, as Heather Wright discovers.

Mark Dasent, Connector Systems general manager for networking and wireless, sums it up neatly.

“It is what it is,” he says of network infrastructure. “It’s very commoditised now really, particularly the run of the mill one gigabit switching products.”

Dasent says while Connector Systems is seeing trends on the network side such as the move away from one gigabit to 10 gigabit networks, the biggest move of all is to wireless, something Dasent says is now ‘a mainstream part of network infrastructure’.

“It’s becoming commoditised. We sell literally thousands of access points so it is commoditised to mainstream.”

Chris Fair, Atlas Gentech product manager, agrees wireless is now a key part of most networks, driven in part by BYOD and the demand to be able to collaborate with colleagues anywhere within a building.

“People want to be able to pick up their laptop or tablet and take it into a huddle room or conference room to meet with colleagues or clients. And having robust Wi-Fi within a building is critical to that.”

And there is plenty happening within wireless to keep us all on our toes.

Dasent highlights the move to 802.11ac wireless Lan, which he says is gaining momentum, something he expects will accelerate rapidly with the second wave, which brings even greater rates, next year.

He notes there’s a 20% premium on .11ac over standard .11n technology. In a September 2013 report, IT Market Clock for Enterprise Networking Infrastructure 2013, Gartner analyst Bjarne Munch said the adoption of .11ac will make the all-wireless office a reality for many workers demanding mobility, with new wireless technologies making Lan bandwidth sufficient to handle all foreseen loads.

“However, market adoption will be moderate and occur only in specific niche applications.” He predicts .11ac will account for only 9% of the AP installed base by 2017, and also warns that those planning wireless networks ‘must not underestimate the complexity and cost’ to make wireless Lans work.

Nevertheless, Munch says the flexibility the offering brings to business has a high impact because of increased top-end throughput within a coverage area, which helps applications that require large file transfers, such as computer-aided design or the high-definition data streams needed for telepresence or in-home entertainment.

“Broader business benefits will be delayed until most enterprise client devices utilising the infrastructure are 5GHz capable, including tablets, laptops, smartphones and other network-connected devices, such as printers.”

For Part 2 check back to The Channel on Friday

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