802.11n Wi-Fi making huge impact a year after ratification

Shipments of 802.11n access points have accelerated since the IEEE standard was formally approved one year ago, Computerworld reports—but what the numbers alone don’t show is the new reality of Wi-Fi networks: They are fast becoming the preferred way to connect and stay connected in schools and other enterprises. And that reality is sparking new demand from enterprise customers, and new innovation from wireless LAN vendors, to make Wi-Fi networks “work” like wired Ethernet—reliably, consistently, securely—for all kinds of traffic, including video. Ground zero for the 11n revolution is the college campus, with hospitals not far behind. Colleges and universities have a growing population of the unplugged: students who’ve never used an Ethernet cable. They have the expectation that whatever device they have will be able to connect wirelessly and handle games, YouTube videos, and “American Idol”—all in addition to classroom applications. What’s more, says Jeffrey Sessler, director of information technology at Scripps College in Claremont, Calif., is that each student often now has “multiple Wi-Fi-enabled devices needing regular access.” These changes are driving Sessler and other IT managers to design enterprise WLANs as mission-critical production networks that are optimized for capacity and performance…

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