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Should we consider a wireless strategy?

I manage a Wide Area IT network with 30 sites, each of which contain front desk POS workstations and stationary back office PCs. We have no mobile sales force to support and the culture is not one where many people tote around notebooks to meetings and presentations.

Because of this we have not felt a need to seriously develop a wireless strategy. Do you foresee the day when Traditional CAT 5 LAN cabling disappears and should we be thinking how to go wireless?

I am intrigued by not having to lay cable in our new buildings but worry about security and obtaining (and paying for) the skills to manage the devices when there is no urgent business need for it.
While I do believe that eventually wireless networking will be the way to go, I don't believe (and I'm backed by Gartner on this) that a purely wireless corporate LAN will be the way to go for several years (Gartner believes that 2005 will see 50% of fortune 1000 organizations adopting wireless infrastructures.) In addition, you discount most the really compelling reasons to incorporate a wireless component to your LAN (notebooks and mobile users.)

Wireless does have a real 'cool' factor, but keep in mind:

  • Wireless networks are more expensive than wired networks
  • Wireless networks do not currently provide the bandwidth available in wired networks
  • Currently, you can't secure a wireless network to the same degree as a wired network
  • This was last published in June 2003

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