Gartner Wireless & Mobile Summit… In Review (Part #1 of 2)

I was able to get a copy from a couple of the applicable sessions delivered at Gartner’s Mobile and Wireless Summit this past week.  However, I didn’t attend in person – see my rant “Can IT Vendors be Objective?”

The first session I reviewed is entitled “The Next Generation WLAN: Time to Throw Out the Rule Book?”  It was delivered by Michael King and Timothy Zimmerman, who as you may know, create the Gartner Magic Quadrant for WLAN Infrastructure. 

For me, here are the most interesting observations:

  • The presentation starts off saying that 802.11n networks are faster, cheaper, and better managed than the wired infrastructure deployed in most enterprises today.  Additionally, they said WLANs are more secure and more reliable.
  • The speakers predicted that 70% of new access layer switch ports will be WLANs within the next three to five years.
  • In the notes to the slide containing the Gartner “Magic” Quadrant was the following advice: “To evaluate vendors is the leader’s quadrant and ignore those in other quadrants is risky, and thus discouraged.”
  • There were two excellent points in the action plan (conclusion):
    • For near future, there is not a dominant architecture for wireless offices.  Enterprises should standardize networks on a few device models to keep support cost down.
    • Enterprises should align networking investments to an all-wireless office, plan for the deployments in the next 12 to 24 months.

Personally, I think the authors hit a home-run with this presentation. The points above really hammered home the need for an all wireless enterprise with fewer devices.   What do you think the wireless landscape will look like in the next three to five years?   What do you see as the prevailing WLAN architecture?  

Part #2 of 2 will focus on a presentation given by Nick Jones, Jackie Fenn, and Monica Basso entitled “Online Society 2020”. 

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3 comments so far

  1. Carmen on

    Hey Douglas!

    Great blog – love the name. 🙂

    Remember when you were just a newbie at this systems stuff as a Lt? You’ve come a long way!!! I’m proud of you. 🙂

    BTW, all these books on blogging that you’ve recommended on LinkedIn…I’m excited to check ’em out. They look like really good reads….

    Take care!

  2. Keyur on

    One of the challenges I see for a wireless office is managing VoWLAN which probably in the future will be part of a cell phone. The lag of 11n handheld devices will be similar to lag in 11a handsets that the industry has seen.

    The cost reduction benefits disappear if there is still a need to run cables for deskphones. At least that is one of the issues i have seen for high density or large site deployment. I have seen Gartner papers claiming VoWLAN or FMC (with WLAN component) still not ready due to usability and device churn.

    Am I missing something ?

  3. wifijedi on


    Thanks for your insight! I agree with your comment that there will be a certain lag of building 802.11n chipsets into certain devices. However, the industry has already starting adapting 802.11n functionailty into many client devices.

    More importantly, I don’t think that you should hold off on infrastructure upgrades waiting for your clients to catch up. As I pointed out in the presentation summary above, Gartner is predicting that 70% of all access layer ports will be wireless in 3 to 5 years time.

    Most WLAN infrastructure equipment has a useful life of 3 to 5 years, which matches organizational budgets. One client I talked to earlier this week had most of their APs in service for between 7 to 10 years!

    I would suggest a long term approach and build out the infrastructure you know you will need in the coming years rather than having to “play catch-up”.

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