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The Seven Years of Creating “N”

When was the last time it took you seven years to complete a project? I’d venture a guess that for most of us, a seven year time horizon to do anything seems like a pretty long time. Yet, in just shy of a month the IEEE will close the final chapter on a standards ratification process that will have lasted almost exactly seven years. The IEEE will ratify the 802.11n standard for high-speed wireless, removing the final hurdle for adoption by even the most conservative of enterprise. Of course, many enterprises have already developed quite a kinship with the standard that delivers wireless performance on par with wired networks. Still, the ratification of the standard paves the way for broad scale adoption and perhaps, just as importantly, allows the standards body and participating vendors to move on to the next phases of innovation. Read More »

802.11n ratification on the horizon

It now appears inevitable that 802.11n will be ratified by the IEEE before the end of this year! The expectation by most everyone is that it will be approved at the next IEEE Standards Board meeting on Sept 11th, 2009. It’s a long time coming, but when it does happen it will close the door on any possibility of compatibility or hardware upgrade concerns related to 802.11n draft 2.0 products and the eventual 802.11n standard. This will ease a concern for customers considering 11n technology. To be fair, this concern has significantly decreased over time, but definitely still exists with a large number of customers.The risk of compatibility issues between draft 2.0 and the final 11n standard was a relatively strong barrier for 11n adoption about two years ago. In fact, vendors in the consumer space were delivering “11n” products that in many cases were not compatible — irritating for consumers and a non-starter for most businesses. The Wi-Fi Alliance (WFA) helped bring sanity to the madness around interoperability nightmares by introducing a certification program in June 2007 based on the draft 2.0 version of the 11n standard. This certification program is a key factor behind the success of this technology to date — especially in businesses. As of today, 653 products have gone through this certification. The WFA put out a statement earlier today that all previously certified draft 2.0 products will be eligible without retesting to use the approved 802.11n logo for an updated certification program per the final 11n standard since these products meet all core requirements — again, good news for anyone concerned about interoperability. Read More »

Wireless Strategies that Help you Save to Invest – Part 2

A few days ago I wrote the first part in a series of blogs about the different ways mobility can help you save money. In that blog I focused on creating flexible workspaces in order to save on real estate costs. In this second installment of the series I will expand on that conversation to include teleworking.Probably the most effective means to reduce your real estate costs for office space is to create policies that allow your employees to work remotely from home (or other locations). On average for each full-time teleworker an organization can expect to save $22,000 per year on commercial real estate. Read More »

Wireless Strategies that Help you Save to Invest – Part 1

As I was negotiating for budget to fund certain projects last week, I thought that many of you must go through the same process in your organizations to get budget for projects and investments you deem valuable. Problem is, to win in this negotiation one has to prove their proposals have value and a high ROI. In this multi-part blog series I will be discussing different wireless strategies you can employ to increase your ROI from a Cisco WLAN deployment. In the process I hope to arm you with some tools to help you make the right infrastructure investment decision as you negotiate for budget with your peers.Strategy 1: Create Flexible Workspaces to Save on Real Estate CostsIt may seem counterintuitive in this tough economy that you would invest in creating flexible workspaces in order to reduce real estate costs, when your workforce may be shrinking due to downsizing. However, similar to future IT investment planning decisions, organizations should take a longer-term approach and plan for the inevitable upturn. Read More »

Reflecting on Wireless Security

As we gear up for Cisco Live! 2009 in San Francisco, I’ve thought back to some of the other shows that I’ve been to over the past couple of months. In April, I had the opportunity to visit the RSA Conference 2009, where Cisco gave show attendees to RSA’s booth a sneak peak of the integration between RSA enVision and Cisco’s Context-Aware mobility service. And at Cisco Networkers Solutions Forum in Toronto, I had the honor to lead two sessions, one on strategies for 802.11n deployment and one on mobility services. On both occasions, I had the pleasure to interact with a number of customers and the same question came up: “Why do I need to worry about RF security if I don’t have a production wireless network?” Read More »