iPhone 4 Wi-Fi proves a challenge for one university

The iPhone 4 is the first to support 802.11n, which offers the highest Wi-Fi data rates and throughput. But it runs only on the crowded 2.4GHz band, and at one university, which is deploying hundreds of the new devices, that poses some big Wi-Fi challenges for IT, reports the San Francisco Chronicle. The iPhone deployment at Abilene Christian University, in Abilene, Texas, is unusual, possibly unique: There can be up to 500 or more iPhone 4 handsets in a big lecture hall, all trying to connect to the hall’s collection of wireless access points. It’s especially frustrating because ACU’s IT group had successfully deployed hundreds of 11g iPhones, in the same lecture hall, on the same 2.4GHz band with minimal problems. For now, in the areas with 802.11n access points, 11n has in effect been turned off, and the new iPhone 4s will run as 11g clients, at least for a few weeks until the kinks get worked out. At this point, it’s not clear if the WLAN instability is an issue of configuring the access points; the mix of 11g and 11n clients, which triggers 802.11 protection mechanisms adding overhead; the limited channel assignments; a possible iPhone 4 Wi-Fi bug; or some combination of these…

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