Getting Started With 802.11n Wireless

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Brett Rushton, vice president of network strategy and infrastructure at Calence LLC, a solution provider in Tempe, Ariz., highlights the challenges VARs will face as they enter the 802.11n waters.

Prestandard Status:
It's still prestandard, but most of the vendors have a pretty good story on how they'll support the standard going forward.

Planning Tools Not Yet Mature:
There aren't good tools for doing engineering and design specific to 802.11n. None of the vendors really have a tool to do it today ... They're all coming in the next 6 to 12 months. We have a pretty rigorous methodology on site surveys and wireless design, and in some cases we're overengineering a little. It's better to drop in an extra $800 or $900 access point rather than have a weakness in your design. We've got tools for 802.11b/g, and we're using those to help simulate what 802.11n looks like, but for 802.11n-specific
[problems], we're relying on our experience.

Training Requirements:
There are always nuances with any new technology, but 80 percent to 90 percent of it operates the same as the traditional protocols. There is some new technology embedded, such as MIMO, higher throughput, that people have to learn out in the field. We've spent some time educating our wireless engineers as we've gone through early deployments.

Power Problems:
The power specification for 802.11n exceeds the original specification for Power over Ethernet, so you have to have an understanding of what switching infrastructure is in place. Over time, customers will [have to put in new switches]. It's one of the considerations you have to take into account.

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