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Analyst Firms: 802.11n Draft Spec Equipment – Not for Enterprises Analyst Firms: 802.11n Draft Spec Equipment – Not for Enterprises
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Analyst Firms: 802.11n Draft Spec Equipment – Not for Enterprises
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Old 31st January 2006, 18:17   #1
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Icon17 Analyst Firms: 802.11n Draft Spec Equipment – Not for Enterprises

Analyst firm Gartner said it would not recommend enterprise customers to adopt recently ratified draft specification 802.11n standard and criticized Broadcom’s and Marvell’s intentions to sell the higher-performance wireless network equipment now. But while Gartner believes customers should stay away from the 802.11n draft-compliant devices, some others believe that the market of such products will still reach $1 billion in 2007 because the technology will be adored by consumers.

Don’t Purchase 802.11n - Gartner
“Don’t purchase a product based solely on its claims regarding 802.11n draft compliance... Plan to stay with Wi-Fi- certified products under the 802.11a/b/g banner. Expect these technology investments to be good for at least four more years,” a statement by Gartner reads.

The 802.11n standard promises to increase transfer speed of wireless networks to about 600Mb/s while maintaining compatibility with currently deployed 802.11a/b/g Wi-Fi networks. There were two groups that proposed 802.11n standards to IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers): World-Wide Spectrum Efficiency (WWiSE ) group and Enhanced Wireless Consortium (EWC ) which standards were not completely compatible between each other. Recently IEEE approved EWC-proposed 802.11n draft standard effectively splitting the developers of the 802.11n into two camps, one of which can start making equipment now and another should wait till the final standard approval.

Different devices compliant with 802.11n and 802.11n draft standards may not function with each other properly, which may create mess for commercial customers, believes Gartner. Nevertheless, equipment makers claim that 802.11n draft-compliant controllers will be firmware upgradeable to the eventually ratified standard.

“In 2007, Gartner could potentially recommend adding 802.11n compliance to requirements if the standard is ratified and the Wi-Fi Alliance certifies the products,” Gartner said.

802.11n Equipment - $1 Billion Market Next Year
But there are different opinions in regards the 802.11n draft standard in the analyst community: in a recently released report, Dell’Oro Group forecasts that sales of 802.11n wireless network (WLAN) equipment will exceed $1 billion in 2007, only the second year of shipments for this new technology.

“The IEEE’s recent approval of a draft 802.11n standard was sorely needed. In recent quarters the consumer market for WLAN equipment has stagnated, especially from a revenue perspective, because 802.11g-based products have been in the market for three years, and consumers have not seen a cost-benefit to upgrading to 802.11a. Due to its better coverage and higher data rates, 802.11n will likely become a key enabling technology for distributing video to multiple devices in the home,” said Greg Collins, senior director of wireless LAN research at Dell’Oro Group.

In fact, most analysts believe that 802.11n draft is mainly aimed at consumers, not enterprise customers.

“Initially this will mostly be consumer-oriented equipment; we believe that enterprise IT managers will not purchase equipment until the standard is actually ratified,” said ABI Research analyst Sam Lucero.

“We expect 802.11n will comprise 90% of the consumer WLAN shipments in 2009. We also expect enterprises to begin widely adopting 802.11n in 2009, once this new technology has become established in notebook computers,” added Mr. Collins from Dell’Oro Group.
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