VARs Say Customers Opening Wallets for New Wireless Standard 802.11n

By Ericka Chickowski  |  Print this article Print


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As the IEEE prepares to ratify the 802.11n wireless Wi-Fi standard in September, VARs believe enterprise customers may begin to open their wallets now that the specification has graduated from its draft status.

As the IEEE prepares to finally ratify the 802.11n wireless standard in early September, VARs are jockeying to position themselves with the right mix of products and services to meet an expected uptick in wireless projects.

According to a report released by ABI Research, analysts project that by 2011 Wi-Fi chip-set vendors will ship 1 billion units per year. Not only that, but the breadth of new products increases daily. This month the analysts at In-Stat released a report that showed more than 1,000 new Wi-Fi products were unleashed in 2008.

"Even in these economic times, our market is still growing at double-digit rates,
so we're going very strong," says Ed Figueroa, director of the WiFi Alliance.
With better range and throughput than its 802.11g standard predecessor, 802.11n has been in the making for several years now. IEEE voted to pass the first draft of the standard back in 2006 and, even though it wasn’t sanctioned by the IEEE, the Wi-Fi Alliance certified Draft 2.0 802.11n-compliant products as early as 2007.

According to Figueroa, in 2009 just the products shipping with Draft 2.0 802.11n protocol certifications alone will make up the entire size of the wireless LAN market in 2007. Analysts say that’s a trend that is only going to increase following n’s ratification.
"802.11n will be the dominant protocol shipped during 2010," says Philip Solis, research practice director for ABI Research. "There will be no looking back as single stream 11n chip sets increasingly replace 802.11g products."

VARs that have embraced Draft 2.0 n products into their reselling repertoire have already seen benefit from the product before ratification.
"802.11n is absolutely amazing," says Rick Lindahl, president of Lake Oswego, Ore.-based Invictus Networks, a wireless integrator. "We're seeing a huge uptick both in the take rates and in the interest by enterprise and small to medium businesses."

Nevertheless, many risk-averse enterprises have held back on 802.11n deployments due to its draft status. These organizations are sticking with a/b/g infrastructures as IEEE gets its ducks in a row in order to finally make 802.11n official.


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