Will Wi-Fi ever replace Ethernet?
Surveys show that Wi-Fi has already become the preferred method of client-to-LAN connection, and analysts predict that the lion's share of new network access "ports" will now be wireless. Wi-Fi is also growing more popular for network edge-to-distribution layer back haul – especially in areas where relaying traffic through an AP mesh is easier than running a cable drop to every AP.
However, I do not expect Wi-Fi to replace Ethernet inside large network cores, or for high-capacity, high-availability edge or back haul links. Anywhere that Gigabit Ethernet is now required, Wi-Fi is not yet a suitable replacement. Ethernet also remains the best way to connect high-volume servers and other devices that are stationary and need highly-reliable, very deterministic, and/or high density connectivity. Although 802.11n has made Wi-Fi faster and more robust, RF is still a less predictable medium and channels are still finite.
This was first published in June 2011