Despite security and reliability fears 802.11n wireless technology will start eroding the wired Ethernet market within the next 24 to 36 months, experts predict.
Burton Group senior analyst Paul DeBeasi said in a new report that 802.11n marks the beginning of a "rapid market shift" away from Lan access deployments using traditional wired Ethernet.
"802.11n will put pervasive mobility on the fast track," he said. "So IT professionals should start thinking now about how they will deploy, maintain and benefit from an all-wireless Lan."
Switch trunks and data centre networks will need wired Ethernet for many years to come, according to Burton Group.
But refinements in system silicon, radio design, network control, wireless security and power management will make 802.11n the preferred and dominant Lan access technology in the future.
Based on Burton Group's comparative analysis, DeBeasi recommends enterprises to consider 802.11n an appropriate Lan access substitute for wired Ethernet in the following circumstances:
- When the number of laptop users is growing
- When the enterprise uses mobile applications
- When Fast Ethernet throughput is good enough
- When the enterprise deploys VoIP
- When moves/adds/changes are frequently made
- When the risk of deliberate denial of service attack is low to moderate
- When Ethernet cable installation is difficult
"We can analyse the differences between 802.11n and Ethernet with regard to performance, security, manageability, cost and impact on staff," said DeBeasi.
"But the definitive and unalterable competitive advantage that 802.11n has over Ethernet is pervasive mobility."
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