As you may have seen, a couple of weeks ago my friend and fellow blogger Michael Morisy over at Tech Target wrote a great blog post on his views of why today's network technology doesn't support the all wireless office environment. You can go read what Michael had to say about it here. I happen to be of the opposite opinion - i.e. I do believe that in many cases organizations could save a lot of time, money, and even improve the customer experience by going all wireless. You can read more about my position here.
As would be expected Michael came back with even more propaganda about how he thinks that wireless isn't really cheaper than wired, has security concerns, and etc and posted it here as well as opening it up for discussion on IT Knowledge Exchange. And now my friends, for, the rest of the story...
We have a habit as technologists of jumping onto new technologies really early and forming opinions that don't get updated as the technology evolves. Take NetFlow for example. When Cisco first released NetFlow you had to be extra careful about turning it on. In many cases enabling this feature took up so much CPU that the router either stopped routing packets or just completely gave up the ghost. A lot of folks decided at that point that NetFlow was too dangerous for their networks. This helped to drive the development of technologies leveraging Deep Packet Inspection (DPI) in network appliances. Funny thing is, NetFlow didn't sit still. It evolved. Nowadays it's extremely safe to enable and with the ISR G2s there's no way that you can affect the main operations of the router with ancillary applications like NetFlow. That said, I still run into people at every event that are afraid to use it because of their early exeriences with the technology.
Could it be that many of us are hesitant to trust wireless for similar reasons? I don't think any rational person could argue that wireless isn't a lot cheaper than wired so let's discount that right off the bat. The fact that the calculator I used was written by a wireless vendor doesn't change the math behind it. Microsoft, eBay, Google, Yahoo, SAP, Ohio State University, the United States Air Force, and NASA have all publicly talked about the money that they've saved by going wireless.
Sure, sometime wireless networks go down. So do wired networks. Spectrum-wide interference is no less rare than service impacting IOS or firmware bugs. Today's best in class wireless networks automatically adjust to interference to find clean air and some of the new stuff coming out from Aruba and Cisco will enable spectrum analysis to increase the networks' view of the air to alert and adapt in realtime.
Nowadays people don't even do site surveys or any of the old school practices we used to do with wireless. The just drop an AP every 4,000 sq feet or so, plug it into the wall, and the systems automatically adjust the power and channels.
I'm not saying that wireless is a fit for every single use case. However, I stand by my opinion that in many cases you can skip the wires. Cut the cord already. The technology is here.
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