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11 Mbps Wireless LAN standard nearing completion

Library Systems Newsletter [August 1999]

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Wireless local area networks have been available for more than a decade, but high prices, poor reliability, limited bandwidth, and the lack of standards have limited their deployment. Prices began to come down a year ago. It now costs approximately $350 per user to purchase and install a wireless LAN-slightly less than a typical wired network. Once installed, it is less expensive to move a wireless node than a wired one. Reliability has improved now that infrared technology has been replaced by radio frequency technology. Bandwidth, which had been limited to 2.0 D{bps, now is as high as 10.0 Mbps.

What has been lacking is a standard for anything faster than 2.0 Mbps. Vendors which have offered greater bandwidth have used frequencies other than the 2.4-GHz band licensed by the FCC for wireless LANs. Work is finally underway on a standard for 11 Mbps bandwidth within the 2.4-GHz band. The new standard, designated IEEE 801.11 HS, may be published in early 2000. The draft has already been used by 3Com to manufacture its AirConnect 11 Mbps wireless product line. Competitors are expected to bring products to market by the end of the year. 3Com says that it will push the industry into interoperability testing because it suspects that some of the competitors may only slightly modify existing high-speed proprietary products.

The consensus in the industry is that wireless LANs will be a sound choice for most organizations within a year. Completely wireless LANs will not be common, however, but wired building backbones with wireless from hubs to the desktop will be. For libraries, that means flexibility in adding or relocating workstations as needs change.

View Citation
Publication Year:1999
Type of Material:Article
Language English
Published in: Library Systems Newsletter
Publication Info:Volume 19 Number 08
Issue:August 1999
Publisher:American Library Association
Place of Publication:Chicago, IL
Notes:Howard S. White, Editor-in-Chief; Richard W. Boss, Contributing Editor
Subject: Wireless networks
Record Number:5925
Last Update:2023-11-28 05:40:24
Date Created:0000-00-00 00:00:00