by April 12, 2002 0 comments

Wireless LANs is among the most happening technologies today, and has recently become popular in India. As far as the technology goes, it’s reached a level where it can seamlessly integrate and work with your existing networks. Since wireless LANs use RF (Radio Frequency) for communication, their signals aren’t limited to the line of sight and can penetrate various surfaces, like walls and doors. This makes it easy to provide network access in the most difficult of places. So whether it’s that conference room in your office building or some other place where it’s impossible to lay structured cabling, wireless technology can get it networked. With wireless, the hassles of planning, designing and laying the structured cabling, patch cords and patch panels aren’t there. 

While you wait

Already wireless is being used in various vertical markets across the world. Since wireless LANs are easy to install, they can be used in temporary arrangements like in trade shows and exhibitions. They can really provide value in public places, where people come and go. The Singapore airport, for instance, has wireless networking, which allows travelers with notebooks or PDAs to quickly get on the Net. Just rent a wireless network card at the airport and plug it into your notebook–something quite useful when you’re waiting for your flight. 

The benefits of a wireless LAN can be many. For one, it provides mobility, where users can get real-time information no matter where they are in the building. It’s quick and easy to install, so there’s no need to lay that cabling. It’s highly scalable, so you can configure it as per your requirement, and at any point of time, scale it up as the number of users goes up. You can also provide users roaming, wherein they don’t have to worry about finding a place to plug-in a network cable. As far as performance goes, it can today offer a throughput of up to 11 Mbps, which is good for normal network usage. This throughput is likely to shoot up with new standards being developed.

The healthcare industry abroad is also benefiting from wireless LANs. In hospitals, for instance, doctors and nurses can get patient information no matter where they are on the premises, or even when they’re on the move. A nurse going for a routine check can conveniently update the patients’ data lying in a central database. He no longer needs to first write on a register and then go back to the PC to feed this information. Similar is the case in large warehouses, where employees don’t have to keep a tab of the inventory on paper. They can keep it updated on the fly. This application of wireless LANs can really increase productivity of the concerned staff.

Corporates can also benefit from using wireless technologies. If there are a lot of mobile users in a company, the network administrator doesn’t have to worry about making moves, additions and changes. Plus, if a network has to be set up in an old building, it can easily be done using wireless LAN equipment. This makes the network so much more flexible. 

With so many benefits arising from wireless LANs, its market is likely to grow. It may still take sometime for it to settle down in India, as the costs are still higher than wired counterparts. The stringent government regulations for wireless licensing don’t help either. 

Anil Chopra

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