Mastering 802.11n: Implementation tips and answers to frequently-asked WLAN questions

802.11n promises to let us build bigger, faster wireless networks that deliver better reliability and capacity. But tapping this technology's enormous potential will require new products, careful planning -- and a bit of ingenuity. In this podcast, we discuss innovative approaches that you can use to overcome the most common 802.11n deployment barriers, from the pinch of Power over Ethernet to bandwidth bottlenecks. In this podcast, speaker Lisa Phifer shares her advice on how to avoid and troubleshoot common WLAN issues.

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Mastering 802.11n
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802.11n promises to let us build bigger, faster wireless networks that deliver better reliability and capacity. But tapping this technology's enormous potential will require new products, careful planning -- and a bit of ingenuity. In this podcast, we discuss innovative approaches that you can use to overcome the most common 802.11n deployment barriers, from the pinch of Power over Ethernet to bandwidth bottlenecks.

In the podcast, speaker Lisa Phifer answers the following questions and shares her advice on how to avoid common 802.11n wireless LAN (WLAN) issues. Find more advice from Lisa Phifer and other wireless networking experts by navigating to the links below:

1) Enterprise adoption of 802.11n has been impeded by interoperability concerns. How can companies avoid running into interoperability problems?[Answer is 1:00 minute in podcast.]

Learn more:

  • Upgrading to 802.11n checklist: Plan for legacy coexistence
    Few of us have the luxury of deploying a new 802.11n WLAN from scratch. Most will need to coexist with legacy 802.11a/g devices -- from existing APs and clients to devices owned by neighbors and guests. To accomplish this, consider these questions...

    2) A big concern that many companies have about 802.11n is increased power consumption. Can 802.11n be deployed without costly Power-over-Ethernet upgrades? [Answer is 3:20 minutes in podcast.]

    Learn more:

  • 802.11n Wi-Fi adoption faces Power over Ethernet hurdle
    Before deploying 802.11n Wi-Fi technology, organizations must determine whether their vendor of choice has developed access points that can run on electricity supplied by Power over Ethernet (PoE).

  • What power supply problems do 802.11n wireless networks pose?
    We're planning to deploy 802.11n later this year. I've heard there will be power supply problems. Can you explain what the issue is and how we can solve it?

    3) Some businesses are worried about overloading their networks with high-throughput wireless traffic. Will 802.11n really create bandwidth bottlenecks and how can they be avoided? [Answer is 6:03 minutes in podcast.]

    Learn more:

  • Understanding 802.11n wireless antennas
    New draft 802.11n access points (APs) use multiple antennas to greatly increase network footprint, available bandwidth and resilience to problems that crippled older 802.11a/b/g APs.

  • How do I increase network signal strength over a large distance?
    I have to create a wireless network in a large open building. What would you do to boost signal strength? I found antennas that improve range, but I don't see how they can be connected as my router seems to have a fixed antenna that cannot be removed. What products work with these better antennas?

  • Are there 802.11n wireless network range extenders to boost my signal?
    I'm trying to extend Wi-Fi coverage to the corners of my property, but I can only find wireless G range extenders. Is there such a thing as wireless N range extenders?

    4) Most companies that will deploy 802.11n already have 802.11b/g wireless. How can administrators minimize impact on legacy clients during an 802.11n upgrade? [Answer is 8:22 minutes in podcast.]

    More on 802.11n
    More advice from Lisa Phifer: What are the most important features you would like to see in next generation wireless local area networks?

    802.11n discussions and video demos in our blog

    Learn more:

  • Coexistence and overlay
    What is the impact of having both the 802.11g and 802.11n access points in the same environment? Will this cause conflicts for the clients in this environment?

    5) Airwave congestion and co-channel interference are big challenges for today's b/g networks; 802.11n will add even more traffic to those crowded airwaves. Do you have any tips for overcoming channel competition? [Answer is 10:06 minutes in podcast.]

    Learn more:

  • How to prioritize wireless traffic
    Learn how Wi-Fi Multi Media (also known as Wireless Multimedia Extensions), a subset of IEEE 802.11e MAC Enhancements for Quality of Service (QoS), can be used to extend traffic prioritization to the wireless edge.

  • How many wireless devices can connect to an 802.11g access point?
    Every AP is limited by number and type of radios and channels used. Channels are shared resources, so the sum of all traffic sent and received on that frequency cannot exceed that channel's capacity. Aggregate application throughput is further diminished by 802.11 protocol overhead, client competition, and loss/retransmission due to distance and interference.

    6) During any major network upgrade, unexpected problems and costs are always a concern. What's the best way to avoid surprises when deploying 802.11n? [Answer is 12:12 minutes in podcast.]

    Learn more:

  • Upgrading to 802.11n: Key considerations
    The question now facing most companies is not whether to migrate to 802.11n, but where, how and when to do so. This checklist will point out critical factors that should be considered when planning your 802.11n upgrade in order to maximize benefit and minimize pain.

  • WLAN troubleshooting with spectrum analyzers
    WLAN protocol analyzers can easily identify common WLAN problems like co-channel interference and show the impact that non-802.11 transmissions have on Wi-Fi associations and applications. But if you need to find out what's causing non-802.11 interference, you'll need to use a spectrum analyzer.

    Lisa Phifer

    About the speaker:
    Lisa Phifer owns Core Competence Inc., a consulting firm specializing in leading-edge network technology. She has been involved in the design, implementation and evaluation of networking and security products for over 25 years. Before joining Core Competence, Phifer was a member of the technical staff at Bell Communications Research, where she won a president's award for her work on ATM network management. Phifer teaches about wireless LANs, mobile security, NAC, and VPNs at many industry conferences and webinars. She has written extensively about network infrastructure and security technologies for numerous publications.

  • This was last published in October 2008

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