It was evident at the recent 802.11 Planet conference and exhibition in Boston that the wireless LAN industry is still undergoing some technology transitions. While tutorials instructed attendees how to conduct site surveys, sessions down the hall advised not to bother with the surveys at all.\u201cWhen wireless access points [AP] cost $2,000 to $3,000 apiece, it was an economic imperative to have technicians walk the floors to determine absolute optimal placement,\u201d asserted Craig Mathias, principal of Farpoint Group, a wireless consultancy, at a \u201cState of the Equipment Market\u201d session at the show.\u201cHowever, [with APs down to $250 to $600 apiece] it is now cheaper to just add an AP or two in a given area [to boost performance] than to spring for the survey costs,\u201d Mathias said.Meanwhile, a number of AP makers - including Airespace, Aruba Wireless, and Trapeze Networks, as well as WLAN \u201coverlay\u201d companies such as AirMagnet, AirDefense, AirWave, Wavelink, Wireless Valley and others - offer tools that reduce or eliminate the manual labor required to determine where to install APs.Emerging component vendors described in last week\u2019s newsletters are improving the range and throughput of APs by enabling them to automatically adjust to network conditions and avoid interference. Similarly, another new component company, Cognio, announced its Intelligent Spectrum Management (ISM) technology at the 802.11 Planet event. ISM identifies and mitigates RF interference.\u00a0\u201cIf you understand the nature of interference, you can come up with a better treatment for it,\u201d said Naresh Baliga, Cognio\u2019s vice president of marketing.All these efforts add up to enabling APs to \u201coptimize themselves,\u201d rendering site surveys less important.One neophyte WLAN customer, though, says the real impetus behind eliminating site surveys is dual-band APs that support multimode 802.11a\/b\/g connections. We\u2019ll take a look at that customer\u2019s installation next time.