Upgrading Wireless LANs

Upgrading wireless LANs is a challenging task, as it requires a careful assessment of your wireless needs and the benefits of upgrading to the new technology. You should consider the following before planning to upgrade to a new wireless LAN technology:

  • The RF band of the new wireless LAN that you are willing to deploy.

If the RF band of the new wireless LAN is already too congested with competing devices, for example 900 MHz, you should think again. It is never a good idea to upgrade to a technology that utilizes an RF band that is already quite busy.

  • The claimed wireless LAN speed by the manufacturer.

If you are upgrading your wireless LAN because of the speed claims by new wireless LAN manufacturers, you should ensure that the claims are true and they match your requirements.

For example, wireless LAN equipment based on 802.11a has a smaller range than its rival 802.11b. If operating range was more important than the LAN speed, you should rethink your upgrade plans.

  • The security features available in the wireless LAN technology.

You should make sure that the new technology provides sufficient security features and meets your security requirements.

  • Upgrading. Do all users need to be upgraded to the new technology?

Under most circumstances, not all users and LAN devices need highspeed connections. Understanding the speed need will help you decide if it is a good idea to upgrade the wireless LAN.

  • Migrating to the new technology.

Are your upgrade needs immediate or can you wait and slowly migrate to the new technology? A few manufacturers, for example Agere Systems, make wireless LAN APs that can provide both 802.11b and 802.11a wireless AP services.

If you already have a wireless LAN that uses 802.11b and you want to upgrade to 802.11a wireless LANs, you might want to consider deploying such wireless LAN APs and slowly provide users with new 802.11a devices.