Wired & Wireless

6:00 PM -- OK, I know it's popular to think of wireless entirely replacing wire. And, indeed, wireless is doing just that in some cases, particular via cellphones in the hands of anyone under the age of 25. I wouldn't want to be a copper-pair telephone company today. That business is doomed.

But while I think WLANs do indeed become the default access for anyone with a mobile computer -- including WiFi-equipped handhelds -- over the next few years, the wired LAN isn't going away. I've often remarked that the amount of wire required to implement wireless is quite amazing. Consider what's going to happen, for example, as 802.11n comes online. Sales of GigE switches will go through the roof, along with Cat 5e (or better) cable. The cable installers are going to have a lot to do over the next few years.

There's a lot more to the wire vs. wireless debate, so I've written a new White Paper on this subject that you can find here. The bottom line is that wire really isn't going anywhere, especially when stationary systems and maximum possible throughput are involved. GigE wireless, after all, is a still a few years off.

— Craig Mathias is Principal Analyst at the Farpoint Group , an advisory firm specializing in wireless communications and mobile computing. Special to Unstrung

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