802.11n Deployment Considerations – Cabling

My 802.11n How Stuff Works Series was so popular, I thought I would start another series.  This time I am going to talk about the various deployment considerations for 802.11n networks, such as: 

  • Cabling 
  • Power 
  • Trobleshooting/Analysis Tools 
  • WIDS/WIPS Sensors
  • Etc. 

Let’s take a look at the first of these considerations, cabling.  With 802.11n, the data rates are drastically improved.  Rates can be as high as 600 Mbps, but most practical implementations of 802.11n today have data rates of approximately 300 Mbps.  

Therefore, the cable used should have higher capacity than 10/100 Mbps.  What cables have 1 Gbps cabability?  Category 5e or Category 6 cables can support the neccessary speed for 802.11n networks.   IEEE 802.3ab also specifies 1000-Base-T over Category 5 cables, although I would personally recommend Cat 5e or Cat 6 cable.

Many newer access points or arrays have multiple physical interfaces to include console ports, 10/100 out of band management ports, and one or more 10/100 or Gigabit uplink ports.  If your access points or arrays support multiple uplink ports, you should run separate cables to each.  

Many times the multiple uplink ports can be configured in several different “modes” to include daisy chaining, port failover, port mirroring, or 802.3ad link aggregation.  In port failover mode, running multiple uplink cables  gives you a level of redundancy to survive a single port failure on either the access point or the uplink switch, increasing the overall reliability of the system.  

    Related Posts:
  • How Stuff Works – 802.11n and MIMO 
  • How Stuff Works – 802.11n and Spatial Multiplexing 
  • How Stuff Works – 802.11n and Channel Bonding
  • How Stuff Works – 802.11n, Fame Aggregation, & Block Acknowledgement
  • How Stuff Works – 802.11n and Short Guard Interval
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