For past couple of years, there’s been a battle raging in the enterprise-WiFi space. There are several promising wireless vendors out there, but each one had definite strengths and weaknesses. Wireless network administrators have had the difficult decision of having to choose which features they desired more, at the expense of others.
One of the little talked about benefits of the latest-gen smartphones and tablets is the fact that manufacturers are finally starting to implement wireless chips inside them that can utilize 802.11n at 5 GHz. Many people don’t realize, but before the iPhone 5 and iPad 3, all of Apple’s smartphones and tablets only leveraged wireless chips that operated at 2.4 GHz. This is a problem for many that have a great deal of wireless interference on 2.4 GHz while 5 GHz has far less congestion. Additionally, utilizing 802.11n at 5 GHz allows you to achieve much better performance.
Every WiFi implementation is different. That being said, there are some general categories that you can group WiFi environments into. Here are the categories and some examples: Continue reading
One of the major differences between 802.11n and all previous WiFi standards is the fact that 802.11n can operate within a 20 MHz channel like 802.11a/b/g — or it can consume two consecutive channels for double the bandwidth! With twice the bandwidth, it seems like everyone should configure 802.11n to operate in a 40 MHz channel, right?
Not exactly. The problem is, when you consume two channels, you end up shrinking the number of non-overlapping channels available. If you enable 40 MHz channels in the 2.4 GHz spectrum, you only have two non-overlapping channels to choose from – as opposed to three when using 20 MHz channels. That means your likelihood of interference increases dramatically. In the 5 GHz spectrum, things are a bit better as you shrink your non-overlapping channels from 23 down to 11. In fact, the use of 40MHz channels at 5GHz will increase the coverage area at higher data speeds.
Now that it’s Christmas 2012, the 7 inch tablet market has reached a fever pitch. We now have high-end devices (with mid-range prices) like the Samsung Galaxy tab, Google Nexus 7, Amazon Kindle Fire HD and even the Apple iPod mini are the talk of the town. But there’s one little tablet that’s been around for a long time now that just won’t go away. The Nook Color. And despite the Nook Color falling behind in the specifications department, it’s still fully capable and highly hackable — which makes it a tech geeks go-to tablet despite all the newcomers. After all, it is one of the only tablets out there with an micro-SD card slot. And to top it off, there are great deals on the Nook Color — everything from new units going for $99 on Black Friday, to refurbished units going for $79 online. In my opinion, the Nook Color is a perfectly capable tablet that’s going to find it’s way into plenty of Christmas stockings this year. And if you’re looking for something to tinker around with, for under $100, you can’t go wrong.
From the looks of it, enterprise owned and operated WAN acceleration and optimization appliances are quickly becoming a extinct. One recent example is Ecessa Corp., a manufacturer of WAN acceleration hardware appliances. Seeing the writing on the wall, the company decided to pivot from their focus on hardware manufacturing and sales to a WAN acceleration services and support model. Ecessa will continue to sell hardware, but consider it to be “legacy” arm of their new business strategy. Future customers and revenue streams are expected come primarily in service form that will be sold through their existing VAR network.
In my line of work, I frequently get asked “what causes WiFi interference?”. In a word: everything. WiFi signals in both the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz ranges are susceptible to all obstructions. It’s just that some cause more interference that others. For example, a dry walled partition isn’t going to slow down your wireless signal much, but a plaster or cement block wall certainly will. Below is a short list of indoor and outdoor obstructions I’ve had to deal with over the past few years when designing, deploying and performing wireless site surveys for various businesses: