As 802.11 security improvements spur broad enterprise deployment, watch for WLAN administration, monitoring, trouble-shooting and quality of service to become bigger hot buttons in 2006.
VoIP over wireless will drive replacement of older, autonomous APs with new centrally-administered QoS-aware wireless switches.
Next generation MIMO gear will continue making a splash in residential WLANs, but enterprises will wait for clear industry convergence on a singular 802.11n technology. Meanwhile, wireless mesh networks will enjoy increased popularity in the great outdoors, serving as the foundation for many metropolitan area Wi-Fi deployments.
Finally, US carriers may dabble with dual mode 802.11-3G phones, but seamless roaming between wireless LAN and WAN will remain a distant vision.
Lisa Phifer owns Core Competence Inc., a consulting firm specializing in network security and management technology, and she also serves as SearchNetworking.com's wireless networking expert.