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Fixed cable critical for enterprise-level WiFi, says Siemon

  • 19 October, 2005 11:42

<p>SYDNEY, October 19. As the trend towards enterprise WiFi accelerates, Siemon has cautioned users that quality fixed cabling infrastructure is essential to prevent crashes and downtime.</p>
<p>Businesses must also consider WiFi security, usability and speed alongside convenience, according to Carrie Higbie, Global Network Applications Market Manager at Siemon.</p>
<p>WiFi allows an increase in staff mobility and acts as a complementary extension to mainstream network connections. While wireless will never replace a cabled environment, in some areas it can be beneficial predominantly due to mobility. For instance barcode readers in a factory environment or temporary connections for transient workers.</p>
<p>Carrie Higbie advises businesses installing WiFi: “An average of 20 users will connect to one WiFi access point and each of these access points needs connected cabling. These users share a single cable, so it is essential that cable is stable, as it is a single point of failure for all connected users. It is critically important for businesses to install quality cabling infrastructure to support their WiFi technology, to avoid downtime.”</p>
<p>It is also important, when considering return on investment (ROI), to remember that international standards call for two traditionally cabled outlets per work area, so any claims that WiFi saves on cabling are false. Without the required number of outlets per work area, a business would be operating outside the standards, and would limit its environment for future applications requiring a cabled connection This can affect the resale or lease values of a property, should the new occupant be required to cable the environment.</p>
<p>Siemon points out that the speed of file transfer also remains a big issue because applications are growing – according to Gates’ Law they double in size every 18 months. Users who are accustomed to using a 100Mbps switched network connection where they enjoyed the bandwidth individually, will find 54Mbps (or less, depending on signal strength) unusable when shared between multiple users - the speed is insufficient for large file transfers. Saturation is also becoming an issue in many areas because there are too many devices trying to communicate on the same frequency.</p>
<p>Carrie Higbie also cautions on the risks of WiFi security. She says that WiFI signals moving through open air are at risk of being intercepted. Although the new Robust Security Network (RSN) is designed to be less easily broken, identity theft is growing and older wireless networks, including those run throughout homes, are proving to be easy targets for eavesdroppers.</p>
<p>She adds: “Because WiFi runs on an unlicensed/unprotected spectrum, it is subject to interference beyond technological or regulatory control. In some factories, users have to skip several channels due to problems of multi-path or signals bouncing off machinery, people, walls and emission interference from machines.”</p>
<p>Despite these problems, WiFi is gaining in popularity because of its convenience, and as Carrie Higbie says, the US telecommunications standards body, the TIA, is planning for the future. “The new TIA WLAN standard in progress calls for a telecommunications outlet in the centre of 55 ft network ceiling grids. This will allow businesses to move access points to suit the workplace and assure coverage.”</p>
<p>In a final word of warning Carrie concludes: “As more people adopt WiFi technology, the problems we face currently are likely to grow and businesses should be ready to address them. This is one area where investment protection is subject to neighbouring facilities, as well as the plethora of other access points with active wireless traffic. Saturation of the airwaves is a growing problem, which could nullify a user’s investment.”</p>
<p>Siemon -</p>
<p>Established in 1903, Siemon is an industry leader specializing in the manufacture and innovation of high quality, high-performance network cabling solutions. Headquartered in Connecticut, USA Siemon has global offices and partners throughout the world. Siemon offers the most comprehensive suite of copper (unshielded and shielded twisted-pair) and fibre cabling systems available. With over 400 active patents specific to structured cabling, Siemon Labs invests heavily in R&amp;D and development of industry standards, underlining the company's long-term commitment to its customers and the industry.</p>
<p>Alana Patton
Marketing Communications Executive
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<p>David Frost
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