Gartner: time to move from 802.11b only to 802.11a/g

San Francisco, CA - Gartner Symposium/ITxpo.  Last October, Gartner changed its overall recommendation for basic WLAN technology from 802.

San Francisco, CA - Gartner Symposium/ITxpo.  Last October, Gartner changed its overall recommendation for basic WLAN technology from 802.11b only to 802.11a/g. In a session today, Gartner restated its position on which physical standards should be selected for notebooks and access points. 

Notebooks, which tax networks the most with bandwidth needs, should be moved to 5GHz using 802.11a. 802.11g is not recommended as a sole strategy because it operates in a band (2.4 GHz) that is increasingly crowded due to its backward compatibility with 801.11b, said the Gartner analyst . 

If your orgnization uses Web-enabled handhelds, remember that unlike notebooks, they don't have the bus speeds to support data transfers of 54Mbps, so they must operate at the slower 802.11b and remain at 2.4GHz. They’ll gain more operational bandwidth since these devices will not be sharing with notebooks, Gartner noted. Furthermore, wireless-enabled peripherals such as printers have limited bandwidth requirements, so they too should be running on the slower 802.11b networks.

Gartner recommended reviewing all equipment to ensure it conforms to all legal frequencies with the country of use, and to consider WAN installation within the building at the same time as WLAN deployment. Specific recommendations include purchasing 802.11a/g access points and adapters with WPA or WPA2 support, and planning a future WLAN with 802.11a at the center, not 802.11g.