Wireless local area networks (WLANs) are small-scale wireless networks with a typical radius of several hundred feet. The most prevalent form of WLAN technology is called WiFi, which encompasses a host of standards including 802.11a, 802.11b, and 802.11g. Wireless Internet via WiFi offers blazing fast data speeds (11Mbps at the low end with 802.11b and 54 Mbps at the high end for 802.11a and 802.11g). While WiFi technology does not offer the degree of ubiquity as wide area networks, the fast data speeds and relatively cheap costs of setting up a WiFi-based WLAN have spurred it ahead in the market.
Companies implementing WLANs see a positive impact on productivity and profitability. Not only are large companies adapting the technology, but businesses in the SOHO sector are also seeing the benefits of wireless LANs and are actually driving the market.
As more employees have wireless enabled laptops or PDAs, WLANs offer an unparalleled flexibility and ease of access to important applications. Furthermore, the implementation of WLANs helps IT departments cut costs and simplify installations. To prove the effectiveness of WLANs, the Wi-Fi Alliance recently developed a WLAN benefits calculator to help enterprises determine the ROI from deploying WLANs.
FierceWiFi provides in-depth insight into the WiFi and wireless LAN industries. Recent WiFi and WLAN articles include:
- "Microsoft, partners to promote Wi-Fi access"
- "WLAN chip market to double in size, but decline in revenue"
- "Intel Capital continues 802.11 investments"
- "Pronto, Ansat in WLAN gaming deal"
In addition to the benefits WiFi and WLANs can bring to large and small corporations, FierceWiFi also looks at the technology driving WiFi and WLANs. Companies such as Atheros Communications are developing next generation chipsets allowing greater performance and range across all WiFi standards. Linksys (now owned by Cisco) and Broadcom are pushing dual band networking products. Microsoft, through its new Windows Mobile software, is partnering with various WiFi providers to make it easier for consumers to locate and use wireless LANs.
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