Networking optimize

The world's going wireless: Are you ready?

Are you thinking of setting up a small wireless network at your home or small office? Here's some information about wireless prices and speed capabilities, along with a preview for a new TechRepublic series on purchasing and installing wireless networks.

In this new era of sliding stocks and closing doors, it’s refreshing to note the technologies that are still growing despite the treacherous nature of the current IT industry. Wireless networks are a good example of this type of success, which is exactly why we have so diligently covered this technology and why we will continue to do so. In this article, I’ll backtrack a little, providing you with some links to previous—and relevant—articles. Then I’ll fast-forward, letting you in on a few of the topics we have up our wireless sleeve.

Past coverage
A year ago, a TechRepublic survey found that about 32 percent of our members were using a wireless LAN at their companies. Four months later, another TechRepublic survey found that nearly 40 percent of our members said they planned to implement a wireless LAN before the end of 2001.

Due to the growing interest in this technology, we’ve worked long and hard to bring you articles that help you implement wireless networks in your enterprise. From tips to definitions, here are some of our wireless offerings:

Good news and bad
Recently, we began working on a series of articles that will detail some current wireless offerings from vendors who are fighting for your dollars in the home/small office space. From our research so far, we have found both good news and bad. The bad news is that getting a home or small office wireless network up and running is not the simple task that you might think it is.

The good news is that the price of a basic wireless network is becoming more reasonable and network speeds are increasing, allowing networks to be much more productive.

Take a look at the table below to see some statistics from our research, including network speeds and prices (for a single node). (See Figure A.)

Figure A
Wireless networks are becoming faster and less expensive.


The prices of these three wireless networking solutions vary from hundreds to thousands of dollars, depending on how many wireless nodes you plan to connect to your network. To see if there is any relationship between these prices and the capabilities of these different solutions, TechRepublic is evaluating equipment from 3Com, Orinoco, and Linksys.

We will be presenting our findings to you over the next few weeks here in Support Republic.

What we plan to do
For each review, we will be setting up an access point and different wireless clients, including the typical scenario for a laptop client.

We’ll examine how easy it is to implement the wireless network and take a close look at any problems or quirks we find in the systems we are reviewing.

Don’t let wireless technology sneak past you or cause you purchasing or installation headaches: Watch for our reviews to stay current with this IT powerhouse.

Do you have a small wireless network?
Have you implemented a small wireless network in your offices? What has your experience been in tying the access point to your wired network? Can roaming users get very far from the nearest access point? Tell us what you think in the discussion below or send us a note.