Get Ready for Industrial Strength Wi-Fi

It started in a section of the radio spectrum known as the “garbage bands.” Then came standards, a catchy name and in 1999 Apple made it an option on its flashy new iBook computers.

Today Wi-Fi is one of the most successful examples of consumer technology invading the workplace. It’s well on the way to becoming a dominant networking protocol, on track to carrying the same amount of IP traffic as wired networks and rapidly taking its place in the mobile world. The vast majority of tablets and smartphones today are Wi-Fi ready.

Wi-Fi is also rapidly shedding its reputation as not being industrial strength. It’s actively used by military and public safety agencies in applications that demand stringent performance and security. Utilities are giving Wi-Fi a core role in smart-grid deployments. The fact that all of these agencies often have access to reserved spectrum, yet turn to Wi-Fi, is a huge endorsement. Wi-Fi’s performance, functionality, choice of interoperable devices and cost-effective pricing all remain compelling advantages

In an era of Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) in the workplace, WiFi’s time has come, with major enhancements poised to significantly increase how it is used:

  • Wi-Fi devices that comply with the 802.11ac standard will use the 5GHz band to achieve speeds of at least one gigabit per second.
  • For very short distances (i.e. from a laptop to external storage) the 802.11ad specification at 60GHz will allow speeds of up to seven gigabits per second, matching USB 3.0 wired speeds and potentially making many of the cables we use today unnecessary.
  • 802.11 – 2012—the first full revision of the Wi-Fi standard since 2007–promises more integration with both wired and mobile networks, holding out the holy grail of the seamless handoff from one to the other. Carriers in the U.S. welcome this as a way to use Wi-Fi to offload data traffic and even supplement coverage footprints.

As the power and utility of Wi-Fi increases, so do expectations and requirements for deploying it. For most businesses, this means implementing Wi-Fi with scalability in mind, knowing that 5GHz speeds are just around the corner. According to a recent Gartner study, by 2015, 80 percent of newly installed wireless networks will be obsolete due to a lack of proper planning. (

Wi-Fi deployments with just a few access points (APs) were fine when laptops were the only Wi-Fi devices in the enterprise and users were stationary. This is rapidly changing as employees increase their use of smartphones, tablets or other mobile devices designed to be used on the move and/or while conducting some task (e.g., visiting a patient). The Gartner study also found that, without out an effective plan, enterprises deploying iPads today will need 300 percent more Wi-Fi just to be effective. The demands of real time voice and video traffic will increase the pressure for scalability even more.

For more insights into getting your network into shape for the era of BYOD, take advantage of the Avaya whitepaper: “BYOD and the Wireless Revolution” at

About Vic Levinson
Telecommunications and IT professional with over 27 years experience in Business Technology Solutions. Specializing in managed technologies solutions : hosted VoIP, cyber security, help desk, remote monitoring and maintenance, cloud work space and - the works. Founded Prime Telecommunications in 1993 and providing business communications solutions. Cloud Applications- everything from hosted network security, hosted Disaster Recovery, hosted printer management, data centers and colocation solutions for businesses.

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