Beginning of the End for Wired Ethernet

The Burton Group, an IT research firm focused on enterprise infrastructure technologies, has released a report comparing 802.11n to Gigabit Ethernet and predicts 802.11n wireless technology will start eroding the wired Ethernet market within the next 24 – 36 months.

In the report, senior analyst, Paul DeBeasi says 802.11n marks the beginning of a rapid market shift away from LAN access deployments using traditional wired Ethernet.

“802.11n will put pervasive mobility on the fast track,” says DeBeasi, “so IT professionals should start thinking now about how they will deploy, maintain, and benefit from an all-wireless LAN.”

While switch trunks and data centre networks will need wired Ethernet for many years to come, refinements in system silicon, radio design, network control, wireless security, and power management will make 802.11n the preferred and dominant LAN access technology in the future.

Based on DeBeasi’s comparative analysis, he recommends enterprises should consider 802.11n an appropriate LAN access substitute for wired Ethernet:

-When the number of laptop users is growing

-When the enterprise uses mobile applications

-When Fast Ethernet throughput is good enough

-When the enterprise deploys Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP)

-When moves/adds/changes are frequently made

-When the risk of deliberate denial of service attack is low to moderate

-When Ethernet cable installation is difficult

“One can analyse the differences between 802.11n and Ethernet with regard to performance, security, manageability, cost and impact on staff,” says DeBeasi, “however, the definitive and unalterable competitive advantage that 802.11n has over Ethernet is pervasive mobility.”