IEEE 802.11n, the next generation wireless LAN technology, promises to meet the constant demand for higher data rates, reliable connectivity, and wider coverage. Not a ratified standard yet, 802.11n is creating a lot of buzz with WiFi-certified equipment based on IEEE 802.11n draft 2.0 already in the market. The final standard, expected in mid-2009, will only escalate the adoption of this emerging technology. It is time for businesses to get ready for this inevitable change, whether they invest in pre-standard equipment or wait for the final standard to come out.
802.11n is a big leap in the evolution of wireless LANs. With major advantages in throughput, range and reliability over legacy Wi-Fi protocols, 802.11n opens up new possibilities for running various applications over wireless. The same features that drive these advantages also present technical challenges in network planning, installation, security, and operation of these networks. The numerous ways in which 802.11n choices can impact legacy 802.11a/b/g networks cannot be ignored. Enterprises should carefully consider these aspects to maximize the business benefits from 802.11n.