Intel and Cisco Team to Boost Wi-Fi

Intel, Cisco Look to Give Wi-Fi a Boost (PC World)

A joint development project announced last week at Fall Intel Developer Forum by Intel and Cisco Systems could have significant effects on enterprise wireless LANs. The companies want to ensure Wi-Fi wireless LANs deliver good VoIP (voice over Internet Protocol) quality and as much data capacity as possible, high-level executives of Intel and Cisco said. With their domination of the PC and network equipment industries, the partners are well positioned to make those capabilities widespread even if they aren’t blessed by a formal standards group, according to industry analysts.


The companies are taking aim at the right problems, according to analysts. Wireless LANs lag behind wired networks because they have been designed for range and signal strength rather than ample capacity, which is what users really need, says Craig Mathias, principal at advisory and systems integration company Farpoint Group, in Ashland, Massachusetts. The 802.11 standards don’t give clients any way to tell which access points have available network capacity. For network administrators, that means a lot of uncertainty, Mathias says. Whereas on a wired network they can decide how many clients to plug into a switch, on a standard wireless LAN they can’t control how many clients try to use a given access point.

In addition, reliable voice quality on Wi-Fi PCs will become a critical need, Germanow predicts. Most enterprises won’t buy specialized Wi-Fi phones but instead will put softphones on employees’ notebook PCs, he says. Most business calls in an office are not made while walking around, according to Germanow. And college students already commonly use notebooks for voice calls on Skype Technologies’ VoIP service and on voice-capable instant messaging systems, he says. “These aren’t functions that people need today, but they’re functions that will support where a lot of enterprise customers want to go,” Germanow says.


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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.