Many organizations are working on the migration of existing wireless networks to the new 802.11ac Wi-Fi standard. 802.11ac wireless networks will be the dominant standard for the next decade and will iteratively improve to meet changing enterprise networking requirements. Now is the time for organizations to adopt this standard and position themselves to meet the future needs of their businesses.
There are three things that should be done to lay the appropriate groundwork for this new technology:
Perform a wireless site survey to identify readiness for 802.11ac. (Don’t rely on an analysis that was done previously for a different wireless standard.) Organizations transitioning from a 2.4GHz network, remember that 5GHz signals have reduced capability to penetrate walls and other obstacles, and the deployment of APs may need to be adjusted to optimize for 802.11ac.
Budget for wireless upgrades to ensure the adoption of 802.11ac technology as quickly as possible. While there is no cost difference between 802.11n and 802.11ac equipment, upgrading still requires a capital investment. Fortunately, upgrades may be done on a rolling basis to smooth out the expenditures over time.
Plan for 802.11ac Wave 2. While the benefits offered by 802.11ac Wave 1 are significant, be ready to upgrade equipment to Wave 2 technology down the road. Some vendors are planning for this transition in advance by offering APs that will eventually support Wave 2 technology through the addition of a plug-in module.
For more information on the 802.11ac standard, read the white paper, “Achieving a Best-in-Class Wireless Infrastructure.”