Wireless flavors

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08/04/2008
So, in my recently posted article about Smartvue, an interesting wireless camera manufacturer that's doing very cool things with peer-to-peer networking, I sort of glossed over exactly what kind of wireless standard Smartvue uses. Martin Renkis, head cheese at Smartvue, sent me the following note: Calling Smartvue wireless is like calling a Porsche GT a car or the Hubble a telescope (maybe not that far) - but 802.11N wireless makes the replacement of wires (both analog AND Ethernet) a reality. The rest of the note was very nice. He wasn't being as much of a dink as that sounds, I'm pretty sure. Anyway, I'll admit that I've never really thought much about the difference between, say, 802.11b and 802.11n. To me, wireless means you don't need wires. I know that there are different throughput rates for different standards, but no integrator has ever expressed to me that one mode of wireless communication was far superior to another when it came to video. So, the article that Martin sent along was pretty interesting. Prepared by Paul DeBeasi at the Burton Group (you can email him yourself at pdebeasi@burtongroup.com), a research firm in Utah, it came to this conclusion: The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) 802.11n draft standard, although unfinished, is the beginning of the end for wired Ethernet as the dominant local area network (LAN) access technology in the enterprise. Over the next few years, refinements in system silicon, radio design, network control, wireless security, and power management will significantly improve 802.11n and its successor products to the point where they will begin to erode the switched Ethernet market. That sounds pretty definitive. Somewhere, someone is drawing a cartoon with all of us depicted as Pinocchio-style puppets having our strings/wires cut by the great technology gods in the sky.