Gartner Research

Wireless Local Area Networks

Published: 04 April 2008

ID: G00203475

Analyst(s): Paul DeBeasi


Improvements in throughput (802.11n), security (WPA2), and quality of service (WMM) have enabled network managers to evolve wireless local area network (WLAN) deployments from pilot trials to production networking. But questions abound. Should enterprises deploy 802.11n now? What spectrum should enterprises use? When should wireless be used instead of wired Ethernet? In this Reference Architecture technical position, Burton Group Senior Analyst Paul DeBeasi answers these and other questions.

Table Of Contents

Decision Point

Typical Requirements

  • Security
  • Rogue APs
  • Signal Coverage and AP Placement
  • Network Management
  • Certification/Interoperability
  • Service Levels
  • Power over Ethernet
  • Quality of Service
  • Guest Access
  • Roaming
  • Regulatory Compliance


  • Radio Technology
    • IEEE 802.11b
    • IEEE 802.11g
    • IEEE 802.11a
    • IEEE 802.11n
  • 802.11n Modes of Operation
  • 2.4 GHz or 5 GHz Band
  • Autonomous AP or WLAN System
    • Autonomous APs
    • WLAN Systems
  • WLAN Security
    • Encryption
    • Authentication

Future Developments

  • Power over Ethernet
  • 802.11n Standards Development
  • Additional 802.11 Standards Development

Evaluation Criteria

Statement & Basis for Position

  • WLAN Radio Technology Position
    • Use dual-radio, dual-band IEEE 802.11n APs with support for 802.11h
  • WLAN System Position
    • Deploy WLAN systems at that site.
    • Deploy autonomous APs.
  • WLAN Security Position
    • Deploy WPA2.
    • Deploy a VPN
  • WLAN Regulatory Compliance Position
    • Deploy equipment that supports 802.11d and 802.11h.
  • WLAN Spectrum Selection Position
    • Provide 802.11b/g support
    • Provide 802.11a support.
    • Provide 802.11b/g and 802.11a support.
    • Provide 802.11n greenfield-mode support.
  • WLAN vs. Ethernet Deployment Position
    • Deploy a wired Ethernet access network only.
    • Deploy a WLAN access network.

Relationship to Other Components

Revision History

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