Wednesday, November 02, 2011
Wired connections still popular on network edge
The number of businesses depending heavily on smartphones, tablets and other mobile computing devices is on the rise. Furthermore, wireless network technology is evolving to support improved performance capabilities. Despite this growth, there is still significant value in using wired infrastructure at the network edge, Network World reported.
Citing a Meraki study, the news source said that most business networks are now seeing more wireless devices attempting to connect to the network than computers using a wired connection. This presents an interesting problem, as it makes it tempting to remove cabling infrastructure entirely.
This is especially the case in campus networks, where the report said the value of making network upgrades to support wired connections is beginning to seem unnecessary. More students are turning to wireless options, with anywhere from 50 percent to 90 percent of all wired ports in a dorm facility left unused. An unnamed IT staffer at an academic institution told Network World most students would not know what to do with a patch cable.
While these statistics make a clear argument for wireless connectivity, performance is still a problem. The report pointed out that wireless is still getting better, but many IT experts firmly believe that wired LAN infrastructure is still necessary to deliver the performance, security and bandwidth that most users require. Reliability and quality of service are also key issues that give wired connections a significant edge over wireless infrastructure. To support this conclusion, the news source pointed to an In-Stat study that found Layer 2 and 3 Ethernet port sales are still rising at a healthy pace. Furthermore, high-performance Ethernet port sales are also growing.
These statistics point to a continued market for wired connectivity. The report also said many experts think setting up wireless infrastructure to meet the same capabilities as wired systems can cost as much as, if not more than, establishing cabling and port architectures.
Wired connectivity offers many advantages for business and campus networks. However, the technology is essential for extremely high-performance networks used in scientific labs and other similar settings. According to another Network World report, the U.S. Department of Energy is close to unveiling one of the fastest networks ever built, allowing researchers to create real-world simulations of climate change, astronomy and particle physics.
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