The Results, Continued
For the SOHO (Small Office/Home Office) this product is very attractive. With this product there is no need to run wires under carpets or through walls. The SOHO user need not worry about plugging their laptop into docking stations every time they come into the office or fumble for clumsy and unattractive network cabling. Wireless networking provides connectivity without the hassle and cost of wiring and expensive docking stations. Also, as the business or home office grows or shrinks, the need for wiring new computers to the network is nonexistent. If the business moves, the network is ready for use as soon as the computers are moved. For the wired impossible networks such as those that might be found in warehouses, wireless will always be the only attractive alternative. As wireless speeds increase, these users have only brighter days in their future.
This preliminary data suggests that this would not be a realistic option for those home users that would require high throughputs. Power users that want to stream DVD movies to every computer in the house or play massive online games require a high degree of network performance. These users might find this solution unacceptable for their networking needs.
I would also have to recommend against using 802.11 based products in networks where highly sensitive and private information would be transferred. The security of the standard would not be acceptable at the DMV, your cable or telephone company's office, or the NYSE.
What does it all mean? It means that as wireless technology matures, there could be a point at which wireless has a great chance of overtaking wired networking as the mainstream networking media, as long as the security and privacy implementations are corrected. As handheld devices, mobile computers, and smart appliances proliferate, the convenience of having a wireless network starts to make better sense. With the IEEE 802.11a frequency shift to the 5Ghz band and the associated channel widening, connection speeds of 54Mbps are attainable. This, if common today, would make wireless a very attractive alternative to wired home/SOHO networks.
We are going to continue to track wireless networking products, and expand on our original tests and findings. As we said initially, this is by no means an exhaustive test, but it was our first pass at creating useful statistics to help determine when wireless networks make sense.