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D-Link switch marks shift in WLANs

Making wireless part of the wired infrastructure will create one network that's easier to deploy and manage.

By , Network World
May 26, 2006 04:20 PM ET

Network World - D-Link's upcoming announcement of a trio of unified wireless/wired LAN switches is the start of a major shift in the way wireless LANs will be deployed.

New silicon and software make it possible for Ethernet switches to process both 802.11 and 802.3 packets, and deliver services unique to wireless traffic, such as radio frequency management and roaming across access points. Wireless is poised to become a standard feature of the wired infrastructure, rather than a separate network, according to analysts and vendors.

Because the two networks are collapsed into one that supports wired and wireless access, the unified network promises to be easier to deploy, simpler to run and manage, and lower in total cost of ownership compared with WLANs that have separate switches and management systems, according to analysts.

"We have seen the cost of endpoint silicon and access points collapse," says Bob Egan, director of emergent technologies for Tower Group. "But the infrastructure costs associated with WLANs has just skyrocketed. Now people are finally starting to address the core infrastructure, where the key cost issues are."

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