Carrier WiFi

Corporate Class: The Showdown

Unstrung is today unveiling a testing program to settle the issue, once and for all, of what is -- and isn't -- enterprise-grade 802.11 wireless LAN equipment, and we're inviting vendors to get involved.

Working with testing partner Iometrix Inc. and test equipment supplier Azimuth Networks, Unstrung has commissioned a series of tests designed to determine which systems are corporate-ready and which are just so-so SOHO pretenders.

The key word here -- just in case you hadn't guessed -- is enterprise. As Bob Mandeville, president of Iometrix, says, there have been plenty of good SOHO tests to help individual users determine how best to implement WiFi in their homes. What has not been done yet is testing to determine which boxes offer the performance, reliability, scaleability, and roaming capabilities to support hundreds -- or even thousands -- of users.

"We're not just switching gear; we're switching vehicles," exclaims Mandeville.

This requires an entirely new performance testing mindset, as Fanny Mlinarsky, CTO of Azimuth, lays out: "Testing a wireless network requires the use of five times as many metrics as in a wired network." A few of these specific performance metrics include:

  • Association performance
  • Roaming packet loss
  • Rate vs. range
  • Wireless quality-of-service performance
  • Performance of wireless LAN switching networks
Unstrung is inviting vendors to help define the methodology of the final test, which will focus on three key areas: roaming, scaleability, and security. Please contact Bob Mandeville for more information at [email protected].

The test is scheduled for publication by Unstrung in the second quarter of this year.

— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Unstrung

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