Network Communications News (NCN) August 2016 - Page 10

COLUMN talking point Working with wireless IEEE 802.11ac technology is a game changer in enterprise environments, explains Valerie Maguire of Siemon, but not for the reasons that you might think. W ireless Ethernet or Wi-Fi is the fastest growing and most quickly evolving Ethernet application ever. The need for increased peak speed and throughput, additional capacity, and decreased latency all drove development of the current fifth generation IEEE 802.11ac wireless application. The Wi-Fi Alliance certified the first wave of 802.11ac devices, which are capable of a theoretical maximum throughput of 1.3Gb/s, in June of 2013; an amazing five months before the 802.11ac Standard published! And, second wave 802.11ac implementations, capable of operating at 2.6G/s and even 3.5Gb/s speeds, are commercially available and being installed in enterprise spaces today. While the popularity of wireless systems might lead network infrastructure experts to believe that wireless systems are on a trajectory to outpace or even replace balanced twisted pair (ie., ‘wired’) cabling networks, the fact is that the most reliable and flexible network solutions will continue to be a blend of both systems for the foreseeable future. One of the most common errors made when comparing wireless versus wired system capability is assuming that IEEE 802.11ac devices provide performance on par with structured