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Surge in IEEE 802.11n takes market by surprise

September 26, 2008 • Top Stories

The inherent value-add in the wireless local area networking and communication standard, 802.11n, continues to attract the interest of business and is taking root in the market at a much faster rate than what was initially projected.

When the technology arrived on the market scene, the overall impression from industry was that it would take some time before it really made an impact in business. This was because the cost of adoption and integration limited take up and capital investment in older product had already taken place.

However, a steady reduction in price and the fact that the standard is truly backward-compatible – thus allowing businesses to enhance existing or older solutions – has fuelled interest and raised rates of adoption.

For example, in the case of a 54mb product, one can really get close to running at 54mb on a 802.11n router or access point, specifically because of the way this solution works from a technical point of view.

There are draft 802.11n products available in the market that are capable of achieving data transfer rates of up to 300Mbps – twenty five times the rate of standard 802.11b devices and five times the rate of 802.11g.

The latest networking solutions are designed to add direct benefit to businesses, enhance processes and procedures, and generally enable users to extract the maximum advantage from features. Speed, reliability and manageability remain key factors.

For example, products entering the market today offer up several logistical advantages which add value to the management of real-time interactive traffic – such as gaming, VoIP, instant messaging and video conferencing. This is automatically given the appropriate priority when other users and applications use the network, effectively eliminating lag and breakup problems.

It reflects the level to which networking infrastructure and technology has grown and the value of the focus on functionality by vendors. It bodes well for the South African corporate landscape, specifically the small-to-medium market segment, as well as the digital lifestyle/ home network market – representing one of the fastest growing segments in the country.

By Paul Luff, country manager, SMC Networks South Africa

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