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Survey reveals enterprise concerns, plans with WLANs

Mar 03, 20042 mins
Cellular NetworksNetwork SecurityWi-Fi

* WLAN drivers, inhibitors unveiled in recent survey

There’s a juicy new report on enterprises’ wireless LAN plans, perceptions and concerns that you can download free of charge.

Yours truly – along with my colleague, Steve Taylor, who runs the Webtorials networking-education Web site – created and conducted an in-depth survey to gather detailed data about user deployment progress and hurdles. 

I served as primary author of the “2004 Wireless LAN State of the Market Report,” which was sponsored by Nortel and garnered more than 600 Webtorials subscriber responses. Of the respondents, 80% said they played a role in recommending, influencing, or purchasing WLAN products.

Here are a few key findings:

* Enterprises are building their wireless networks incrementally and cautiously as technology continues to mature.

* “Anywhere, anytime” access to e-mail and Web-based applications for knowledge workers is the primary benefit enterprises are currently seeking with the technology. But the application of WLANs simply to decrease the cost and complexity of cabling remains a strong motivator for installing the networks.

* There is a substantial amount of interest in deploying voice over WLANs.

* Enterprises are far more concerned with wireless security than they are with any other WLAN issue, including RF management, interference and costs. “Integrating wireless and wired networks” ranked dead last as a user concern.

* A substantial number of respondents expressed little or no knowledge of “WLAN switches” and “lightweight access points.” This was startling, given the rash of announcements in this product category during the past 18 months (not to mention the degree of coverage these new architectures have received in this newsletter).

* Many users seem to be missing the significance of 802.11a’s additional channels for reducing interference and managing quality of service, as far more users plan to deploy 802.11g than 802.11a at this juncture.

If you’d like some embellishment on these tidbits and other findings, you can access the full report at (registration required if you’re not already a subscriber).