802.11n starts its wireless stress test at university

A zone of 11n access points sets new expectations for WLAN performance

Another problem has been finding, installing and trouble-shooting up-to-date device drivers for legacy Microsoft Windows notebooks. "We're going from a very homogenous client environment, with one PCMCIA card and one set of drivers, to a very heterogeneous one," says Boland. "We want any of our students, with any device, to be able to access the wireless net."

A few students have brought their own notebooks with an embedded 11n adapter. And more are expected, in the form of 11n plug-in cards or USB form factors. The college has ordered samples of such adapters for testing, and anticipates more USB 11n adapters being available from vendors soon.

The added capacity of the 11n (and other) access points is being optimized by Meru's virtual cell architecture, which among other things will balance student wireless connections among a group of neighboring access points. "We chose Meru in part because of that, so we've been watching this closely," says Barber. "You can actually watch on the Meru management application and see 30 students in a big lecture hall with three access points being distributed evenly among the access points."

There are plenty of issues still to sort out as the deployment unfolds. One question is how the presence of legacy 11g or 11a clients on an 11n radio will affect the WLAN performance for 11n clients. Another issue is powering the 11n access points, which require roughly twice the power available in existing 802.3AF power-over-Ethernet systems to run the two 11n radios in the access point at the same time.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

John Cox

Network World
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?