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Interop wireless: Jury's out on TV white space, all-wireless enterprise

At Interop New York, vendors will be touting new wireless LAN architecture and the introduction of TV white space spectrum to enable the all-wireless enterprise. But Interop wireless conference track experts don't agree on whether the all-wireless enterprise is ready for primetime.

At the Interop New York 2010 conference, wireless LAN strategies will be discussed.

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 all-wireless.

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."


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This was last published in October 2010

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