Wireless LAN technology has grown relatively mighty in speed and ability in just a couple of
years, but is it prepared to act as the sole networking source for an enterprise? That depends on
who you ask.
The so-called all-wireless
enterprise is one of those technology promises made every year during the Interop wireless
track. Until recently, though, WLAN has at best been a great access technology for smaller
businesses and an adequate source of back-up for larger enterprises that need to provide access in
conference rooms or to workers
moving about factories and hospitals.
But this year the promise of the all-wireless enterprise is backed up with the mass migration to
the much speedier and more dependable 802.11n
technology, new WLAN
architectures that enable better frequency management, and the upcoming FCC release of TV
white spaces spectrum for WLAN. The TV white spaces spectrum will mean the ability to transmit
more effectively through solid objects and send signals over longer distances.
Gartner analyst Paul Debeasi says he was "ridiculed" when he first wrote about the all-wireless
enterprise back in 2007, but those days are over. Users now come to work with multiple
Wi-Fi-enabled devices, expecting WLAN access, he says.
On the flip side, Core Competence analyst and Interop wireless speaker Lisa Phifer, says one
major WLAN vendor told her that less than half of its customers are actually looking to go
As for using TV white space spectrum for the enterprise WLAN, Interop wireless track chair and
Farpoint Group analyst Craig Mathias says "no way."
"White Spaces will have no impact on the enterprise," he says." It will not replace or
even augment Wi-Fi."