No Reason to WaitBy Ericka Chickowski | 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.
But that logjam should be unstuck very soon, Figueroa says. Back in July the WiFi Alliance announced to consumers and businesses that at that point until n ratification, they could count on their Draft n products automatically rolling over to n certification—so no need to upgrade to ensure the piece of mind of running a fully sanctioned product.
"Even though the Draft 2.0 program has really alleviated a lot of the concerns that buyers may have had about interoperability and their investments having a long life, there may be those out there who are still waiting to get a full standard delivered, maybe because of interoperability concerns or maybe because they wanted to get the full feature set," he says. "We may see a resurgence in activity in the enterprise space with folks who have been waiting who are now going to purchase. There are no more reasons to wait."
While the rollover certification program will certainly make it easy for VARs to convince buyers that there’s no reason to wait on laptops and standard wireless LAN equipment, there’s still the matter of specialty equipment.
For example, Ethan Seltzer of GroundForce IT says that a lot of his wireless business is kept afloat by manufacturing and distribution customers.
"We're seeing an uplift in wireless technologies specifically in manufacturing and distribution," says Seltzer, founder of the Richmond, Va.-based networking VAR and service provider.
These customers tend to deploy wireless in order to seamlessly connect big equipment on the manufacturing floor with specialized handheld devices, scan guns and the like. In many cases this equipment takes a longer time to catch up to current standards.
"As a general rule, we've been suggesting that they look at access points that support n when it is fully ratified," he says. "But it’s the small peripherals that are very specific to an industry that I don't think necessarily support Draft n just yet that are going to be a problem. When you look at manufacturing and distribution, some of the gear they’re using hasn't necessarily caught up and it doesn't necessarily support n."