Wireless Infrastructure

08:39 PM
Craig Mathias
Craig Mathias
Commentary
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Mathias On Mobility: 2011 The Same, But Better

Continued deployment and growth of enterprise WLAN and 4G mean the end of wire to the desktop and a mobile future that is unequivocally broadband.

Many of us would like to wave goodbye to 2010 and not look back. IT staff are just plain weary -- they're tired of budget cuts, long hours and dealing with an ever-increasing array of both deployment and support issues as well as seemingly endless lists of requests for new features and enhancements. And then there are those budget cuts.

We have, I believe, entered a period that will indeed be the new normal. We can deal with this situation via effective management and investments in capital equipment that make those on the operational side more efficient and productive. This strategy will see increasing emphasis in 2011 -- and that's in fact very good news indeed. But the news gets even better.

Consider just a couple of trends that will see gather steam in 2011. The enterprise WLAN will continue to grow in scope, including both coverage and capacity. All wire -- except power cords! -- to the desktop is dead, as voice and even video on the WLAN become common. Automated solutions to potential interference challenges will similarly appear everywhere, and we'll even see a few 600 Mbps 802.11n products on the market. I'm also optimistic that we'll see the first few gigabit-level WLAN products as well. Having fun yet?

What about 4G? The ITU's definition of 4G starts at 100 Mbps, and we're not likely to see any of those systems deployed for quite some time (around 2020, I think). But products based on the more marketing-centric definitions of 4G (which is simply faster than the 2 Mbps upper bound of 3G) will soar into many applications in 2011. HSPA+ from T-Mobile and LTE from Verizon (and soon AT&T) are already deployed in some locales, with much more to come. Many users will see throughput on a par with cable modems and DSL, pointing the way to a mobile future that really is, finally, unequivocally, broadband.

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