The propagation of wireless devices and advancements in Wi-Fi technology are changing our expectations for wireless networks. Cisco’s Greg Beach, Director of Wireless Networking, sees this first-hand working with both Cisco customers and Cisco’s own wireless development engineers. These are his observations…
Consumers and professionals in sectors from education and healthcare to retail and manufacturing and beyond increasingly depend on wireless networks to do work and connect to others, and they demand high performance and reliability.
From the perspective of IT administrators and network managers, meeting these expectations in the coming year will be challenging. In particular, there are three major trends affecting Wi-Fi networks that will present challenges for the people at the front lines of network management.
1. The proliferation of Wi-Fi devices and non-Wi-Fi devices that occupy the same shared RF spectrum are causing interference on the network. We’re not just talking about laptops and smartphones anymore. Did you know a wireless video camera could disrupt network performance? An Xbox? A microwave? The list goes on. Solutions for detecting and mitigating RF interference will be important to sustain high-performance 802.11n networks.
2. In a growing number of organizations, Wi-Fi deployments have transitioned from a “best efforts” approach to become mission-critical. Whereas Wi-Fi used to be a novelty or a convenient luxury, improvements in the technology have caused many organizations to adopt Wi-Fi for mission-critical data and applications. This means that the performance, reliability, and security of these networks are more vital than ever.
3. Many organizations lack the expertise, resources, or tools to handle the prior two trends. Just as it’s difficult to determine the source, distribution, and impact of RF interference, it’s difficult to adapt to a world in which the health of the wireless network has consequences for the organization as a whole. Since these trends are new, there is often not an established ecosystem of expert support and solutions internal to organizations.
Cisco will be at Interop Las Vegas from April 25-29 discussing solutions to these and other pressing issues on how to support next-generation wireless networks. Check out our Interop page for more information on panels, speakers, receptions, and Cisco Booth 1719.