• Has anyone out there heard of customers that are unhappy with their 802.11n [u]upgrades[/u] ? Say with particular environments or particular applications?

    I'm not so much thinking of poor quality equipment as I am poor planning, or because the customer thinks they got less than they were expecting.


  • The biggest issue I'm seeing is on the client side and trying to educate customers to see beyond the marketing and understand that 11n comes in a multiple flavours. It's all very well installing the latest and greatest 11n APs but there's not much you can do when the customer then buys laptops with single stream 2.4Ghz chipsets in them.

  • Very good point.

    In talking to IT people/business managers etc, one of the problems I have found with 802.11n is that it is such a quantum leap in technology from previous standards, and there is so much information out there about it, that many are completely bamboozled and won?t admit it.

    I saw exactly the same thing with 802.1X with it?s attendent LEAPs and PEAPs and EAPs and who knows what else.

    This .11n stuff is our bread and butter. From channel fading matrices to gaussian noise distribution to RIFS to Eigen values.

    For the average poor old IT administrator, he or she has already got so much on their plates what with new operating systems, security, Cisco this and Juniper that, they barely have enough time in the day to eat.

    Obviously books and courses help, but due to time, budgets ?the economy? etc, many will be left in the dark.

    When I am talking to someone who needs a sixty second rundown on .11n, I only mention the ?big three?. No tech talk and using very rough analogies, not ?technically accurate?, but just trying to get the major benefits across.

    I say:

    Imagine one antenna saying?. ?Hello nice to meet you Bob?

    Now imagine two antennas: one says ?Hello nice to? the next ?meet you Bob? at the same time.

    We get double the throughput for the same time period as before.

    Fancy electronics at both ends of the link put everything back together properly.

    If we have more receiving antennas than normal we can hear the signals better.

    That?s why so many things are sticking out of these boxes.

    Now, instead of sending one packet at a time ( I use the term ?packet? as that is a term that many non-tech managers know, as opposed to frame ) , we bunch a load of them together as one and send them off. Then, instead of the distant end having to tell the transmitter ?Hey I received your packet? each time a packet is sent, you can have him acknowledge the whole bunch of packets at once. It speeds things up.

    When your old transmitters sent a signal, they took up space just like an FM radio station does. These new devices can take up to twice the space in the air that the old ones do, and give you a bit more than twice the previous throughput.?

    You need new boxes to support all this as well as having your laptops etc able to support it.

    Recently a friend called asking me to speak to the head of an overseas IT department who had a bunch of sales people trying to sell .11n to him. He was totally confused, but pride dictated that he didn?t let on about the fact that he was bamboozled.

    I spoke to him for a few minutes using just the phrases above. He then started asking me very sensible questions.

    There?s an old expression ?We couldn?t see the forest for the trees? and that can certainly apply to .11n in many cases.

    Obviously there are a zillion variations on the above theme, but if I have an audience of mixed folk ( engineers, managers etc ) and am talking about a subject ( SDH, SATCOM, Wi-Fi etc ) I will adjust the technical content according to the level of the person who will be making the purchasing decisions. Once the basic benefits of the system have been introduced, and I?m fairly confident that the key players understand the benefits, I then shift gears and start talking in more technical terms for the benefits of the engineers and technicians who may be there.


  • It's the laptop vendors not putting more 802.11n detail in their data sheets. Sometimes they just say the WiFi chipset supports 802.11n. Sometimes you have to look deeper and if they say GN then it's 2.4 Ghz only. If they say capable of 300Mb/s then they support channel bonding and things like that.

  • Has anyone had customers who thought 'n' was going to really speed up their system, or give them magnificent range and then they found out they only had a single stream solution in the 2.4 GHz range and all they got was a mediocre speed improvement or none at all? Or maybe not even increased range?

    Afterall, it is often the application that slows down response, not the communications link.

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