Cisco Opts into 802.11ad

Carl Weinschenk
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Six Ways Wireless Technology Is Transforming Health Care

The two emerging versions of the 802.11 wireless standards, 802.11ac and 802.11ad, are making significant progress.

It is important to remember that the two standards, though they have similar names, do very different things. 802.11ac is more of a traditional extension of the Wi-Fi standards with which most people are familiar. It is designed to carry more data, more efficiently than its predecessors. On the other hand, 802.11ad is designed to exchange a lot of information over a short distance. It can be thought of as a cable replacement.

Rethink Wireless has a well-done story, with equal parts news and useful background, focusing on an investment by Cisco in Wilocity. The company is at the forefront of 802.11ad development. The story reports on how the technology, which is now known as WiGig and operates at 60GHz, will be used in Cisco’s small cell effort. Obviously, being enfranchised by Cisco is a big deal, though the amount of the investment was not released.

WiGig, the story says, has a theoretical top speed of 7 gigabits per second (Gbps). A key part of writer Caroline Gabriel’s background:

Initially a competitive effort to very high speed efforts within the main 802.11 groups, the 60GHz technology gradually came closer to the WLAN mainstream as the 802.11ad specifications matured, and it was finally merged with the Wi-Fi Alliance, which kicked off a certification program in September (though still retaining some separation by keeping the distinct WiGig name and logo).

On the 802.11ac front, the focus is turning to deployment. Aruba Senior Director Chris Kozup offers some tips to organizations planning a deployment. In a sense, the steps are similar to any 802.11 upgrade. Within each step, however, attention should be paid to certain nuances.

The suggestions include performing a network audit, planning for the coexistence with previous flavors of 802.11 and migration to the new iteration, carefully controlling any changes in channel assignment and utilization, carefully planning access point placement for optimal results and finally, to consider budgeting and wireless/wireline management issues.

More technology background is available in a three-part series by Jennifer Minella at Network Computing. The stories look at the intricacies and challenges of Dynamic Frequency Selection (DFS), a requirement in wireless systems designed to give priority to vital traffic such as first responder communications. (I’m including links to part two and part three.) The issue is trickier in the 802.11ac environment.

802.11ac has arrived. Typically, websites run articles on what the best bet is in a new technology. CNET has a novel approach: a list of five routers from which to stay away. More traditionally, PC Advisor weighs in on some good options.

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