802.11n Wi-Fi heads for the big time

802.11n Wi-Fi heads for the big time

But security worries will still slow roll outs

802.11n wireless networks and voice over wireless will be key growth areas for the wireless industry in 2008, experts predict.

However, security concerns will continue to be a major issue in successful wireless deployments, according to Ian Schenkel, EMEA managing director of AirMagnet.

The wireless industry has gone from strength to strength over the past year after a "bumpy adolescence", and 2007 was the year that wireless grew up.

AirMagnet predicts 40 per cent market growth in the wireless industry in 2008.

According to recent Gartner research, laptop shipments are set to grow by 19 per cent per year until 2011, exceeding desktop shipment growth that is predicted to increase by just four per cent per year.

As the majority of laptops are Wi-Fi enabled, AirMagnet predicts that remote working and laptop sales growth will continue to be key drivers for wireless in 2008.

According to Schenkel, some 43 per cent of companies which have so far resisted wireless adoption in the workplace have done so because they are concerned about security.

Such concerns will continue to be an issue in 2008, and organisations must understand that, while Wep was sufficient to protect the network several years ago, it is now obsolete as hackers are becoming increasingly more sophisticated.

Point monitoring using a mobile device or laptop solution helps increase network security by allowing users to identify isolated risks and troubleshoot the network to protect users.

"The new high speed Wi-Fi standard, 802.11n, promises increased network speeds and reliability with raw data throughput theoretically capable of reaching as much as 600Mbps, over 10 times that of 802.11g," Airmagnet stated.

"Demand for 802.11n networks is set to be a key driver for wireless networks in 2008 as organisations look to increase speed and bandwidth for data intensive applications.

"However to achieve the expected performance and throughput, careful planning and implementation analysis should be undertaken.

"As more vendors begin to deploy 802.11n, organisations will look at implementing these networks as opposed to expanding existing networks."

With the increase in the number of dual-mode Wi-Fi and cellular phones in 2007, Schenkel believes the industry will see this continue to increase in 2008 as businesses seek to deploy voice over wireless technologies in the enterprise.

The convenience and cost savings offered by the technology may have it poised for tremendous growth, but for the application to truly become widespread it has to be as reliable as traditional fixed-line voice services.

"In order to cope with this increased demand for voice over wireless enabled phones, organisations must optimise wireless access points already installed as well as investing in additional access points where necessary to support additional traffic," said Airmagnet.

"Effective wireless network planning is key to ensuring the success of voice over wireless."

Schenkel argues that wired networks are no longer less reliable than their wired counterparts.

In 2008 organisations will continue to strive for optimal network speed and network performance. In order to ensure this, they need to plan ahead using Wi-Fi survey tools for optimal access point positioning.