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Is it time to say goodbye to good old Cat. 5
cables and RJ45 connectors?

According to the OnForce "State of the Market" report, wire and
cable service orders have the second highest hourly rate in the industry—$282
per hour, which is roughly 36 percent above the average hourly work order rate.

Solution providers are wholesaling cabling across drop ceilings and under
raised floors for $591 per hour, which is a whopping 89 percent above the
average work order rate. Cabling through walls is going for the net price of
$431 per hour—75 percent above the national average.

If you figure that even wiring a small office with 10 seats will mean Category
5 drops to every office, desk and conference room, the total cost will be
several thousand dollars at these rates.

Even conventional WAPs (wireless access points) require hard-wiring to switches
and routers, so 802.11a/b/g has been little help in untangling the Cat. 5 mess.

Wireless has been virtually useless until now. The advent of 802.11n will open
up much wider wireless data pipes, allowing gigabyte volume throughput on the
data spectrum. Motorola is betting its networking strategy on this new standard
and wireless mesh networking.
Motorola’s new wireless enterprise line is leading the advance of a new wave of
networking. While the wireless enterprise is not a new concept, the idea of
replacing all those hard-wired access points and retaining access to
high-availability fat pipes is relatively new.

Motorola figures that as applications hog increasing amounts of bandwidth, all
businesses will be forced to upgrade their data networks. The natural
inclination today is to upgrade both wired and wireless infrastructures. With
the costs of deploying a wired infrastructure so high, Motorola is betting
businesses will jump at the opportunity to replace all their copper and fiber-optic
cable with comparably low-cost 802.11n mesh wireless networks.

"This will save, since it’s one-fifth to one-10th the cost of running
cable," says Kevin Goulet, director of product management at Motorola’s
enterprise LAN market division.

Motorola is also launching a new channel devoted specifically to enterprise
wireless networking, although the opportunity and application is applicable to
businesses of all sizes.

Wireless mesh has been around for a while, but mostly confined to municipal and
campus-level deployments. Motorola’s thinking is correct: As businesses adopt
more Web 2.0 and data-intensive applications, they’ll need more bandwidth to
the endpoint. If you can deliver a wireless network that has high speed, little
latency and solid security, what’s the justification for running wire?

For solution providers, the entire idea of high-speed wireless mesh networks
opens new opportunities for engaging with existing customers and prospects.
Everyone knows enterprises and small and midsize businesses have been extending
the lives of their switches and routers to save money. Who can blame them? If
the box still works, what’s the problem? But even SMBs are using more
sophisticated applications that require network optimization. For customers
with higher data loads, wireless mesh networking gives solution providers a
product that both solves bandwidth headaches and provides a savings over
existing systems.

This isn’t to say that Motorola has the right product or channel program (both
of those must be tested and evaluated more thoroughly). But Motorola’s concept
for the product and the market justifications are sound. It’s time to cut
ourselves out of the Cat. 5 conundrum and embrace the mesh wireless spectrum.

Lawrence M. Walsh is vice president and group publisher of
Channel Insider. How are you building the next generation network: with or
without cable? Share your experiences with Larry at