Gartner Research

Decision Point for WLAN Technology

Published: 09 April 2014

ID: G00262164

Analyst(s): Jim Berenbaum


The explosion of smartphones and tablets and reliance on wireless connectivity have increased demand for ubiquitous and high-quality WLANs. WLANs, once networks of convenience, have become mission-critical. This Decision Point helps network designers select technologies and configuration options.

Table Of Contents

Decision Point

Decision Context

  • Business Scenario
  • Related Decisions

Evaluation Criteria

  • Requirements and Constraints
    • Security
    • Rogue APs
    • Signal Coverage and AP Placement
    • Network Management
    • Certification/Interoperability
    • Service Levels
    • Power Over Ethernet
    • Quality of Service
    • Network Segmentation
    • Roaming
    • Antenna Systems
    • Regulatory Compliance
    • Multiple Input/Multiple Output


  • WLAN Communications Standards
    • Legacy IEEE 802.11 Standards
    • IEEE 802.11n
    • IEEE 802.11ac
  • Band: 2.4GHz or 5GHz
  • Stand-Alone Access Points or Coordinated Access Points
    • Stand-Alone Access Points
    • Coordinated Access Points

Future Developments

  • 802.11ac Wave 2
  • IEEE 802.11u and Hotspot 2.0
  • 802.11ad

Decision Tool

  • WLAN Radio Technology
    • Implement Dual-Band APs
    • Support for 2.4GHz
    • Support for 5GHz
  • Coordinated Access Points vs. Stand-Alone Access Points
  • Spectrum and Protocol Management
  • Network Segmentation
    • Establish a Separate SSID for Employee-Owned (BYOD) Device Traffic
    • Establish a Separate SSID for Guest Device Traffic
    • User-Based Access Controls

Relationship to Other Components

Recommended Reading

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