Truly Free to Roam About the Building

Michael Vizard

One of the things that keeps a lot of people tethered to their desks is that the wireless networks they have installed are not very robust.


For one reason or another, coverage can be spotty at best and the hand-off between one access point and another can easily lead to a dropped signal while moving about the business. In addition, if too many people are trying to access the same access point, available bandwidth drops to a crawl.


IT organizations don't particularly like managing all the existing access points either, so for once it looks like end users and the IT department might find common cause on embracing new technology.


Of course, 802.11n isn't exactly new. The standard has been seven years in the making. But as more companies start replacing existing access points with 802.11n access points, they are going to see a material difference in performance, not just because there is more bandwidth, but because the access points themselves are a lot smarter about how they cooperate with each other, manage bandwidth allocation and execute security policies.


The end result of more robust wireless networks is that organizations should expect to see their people moving about the office or campus a lot more. It's a lot easier, for example, to have an impromptu meeting in the cafeteria to discuss something if people can readily bring up the subject at hand.


You can see this kind of collaboration in any building that has already implemented an 802.11n wireless network. In contrast, whenever you visit a company that hasn't, you invariably hear that they have a wireless network, it just works in only a few select areas that seem to change as frequently as the weather. Nobody really complains, however, because they pretty much gave up on it and, besides, the IT department got tired of hearing about it.


With 802.11n, maybe people are finally going to be free to truly move about the building.



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