10 wireless New Year's resolutions, Part 2

* Decisions about the wireless LAN

There are lots of wireless considerations for 2009. This newsletter, Part 2 of 2, recommends possible New Year's resolutions you may wish to make related to 802.11 Wi-Fi wireless LANs, if you haven't already. Part 1, by contrast, offered resolutions for the mobile WAN.

1. I will decide whether or not to deploy voice over Wi-Fi (Vo-Fi) in my organization.I might want to support Vo-Fi for only certain users or roll it out as my comprehensive internal mobile voice strategy. This decision will affect site surveys and access point planning and placement going forward, as well as my handset connectivity choices.2. I will estimate my local wireless bandwidth needs in the next two to five years based on applications I anticipate rolling out and expected user population size.This will tell me whether I need to deploy Draft 802.11n deployment ahead of standards ratification or whether I can wait (currently, ratification is expected in late 2009).3. I will craft strategies for 5GHz and 2.4GHz networking.I will decide how to make optimum use of both bands. One option might be to use the 2.4GHz band for 802.11b/g legacy traffic and use the 5GHz band for “pure” 11n traffic, if I use Draft 802.11n networking in the near future. I might also consider using 5GHz for mesh backhaul traffic and 2.4GHz as an access network.4. I will do the best I can to ensure that all my wireless devices support 802.11i security.Now that Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA) has been exploited, using 802.11i’s stronger WPA2 authentication and encryption should be top of mind. That includes migrating legacy barcode scanners and other handhelds to 802.11i. Investments here, particularly in the retail industry, should be a priority even during the economic downturn, as stolen over-the-air credit card information could cost my company a lot more than replacing a few devices.5. I will plan for the obsolescence of 802.11a/b/g and an eventual migration to 802.11n.I will at least start thinking about upgrades I need to make to my wired network and power-over-Ethernet infrastructure, evaluate new 11n architectures, and read up on new tools and best practices for 11n design and deployment.

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