New Wi-Fi standard should be discussed with mobile vendors

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IEEE 802.11n is a recent amendment to the family of 802.11 wireless networking standards to improve network throughput over previous standards. The new standard is being widely adopted because it also boosts connectivity and IT personnel should discuss migration of their mobile devices to the new standard with vendors, according to a new white paper from Summit Data Communications.

When an organization deploys 802.11n in its Wi-Fi infrastructure, connectivity improves for all Wi-Fi client devices, including those that lack support for 802.11n, according to the white paper.

“To take advantage of enhancements that boost throughput, you need 802.11n on both the client side and the infrastructure side. To get the connectivity benefits, however, you just need 802.11n in your infrastructure. There’s no need to upgrade or replace mobile devices,” said Ron Seide, Summit’s president and the paper’s primary author.

Business-critical mobile devices such as mobile computers and medical devices don’t need a throughput boost, but do need wireless network connections that are reliable, even when device users are on the move in environments that present connectivity challenges such as hospitals.

The white paper explains how putting 802.11n in your infrastructure makes network connections more reliable for all devices, including pre-N devices. 802.11n support already has become a standard feature of some client devices, such as laptop computers.

Many business environments include or soon will include a mixture of N and pre-N devices. An 802.11n infrastructure can accommodate a heterogeneous mix of client devices, but pre-N clients will limit the throughput of N clients.

“Business-critical mobile devices often are used for five or even 10 years, so they are not replaced often,” said Seide. “Organizations should discuss 802.11n with their mobile device vendors and plan their inevitable migrations to 802.11n.”