Monday, October 4, 2010

More Space For Your Wi-Fi Place

One of the biggest challenges in scaling a network to Multimedia-Grade is delivering the capacity required to support those bandwidth hungry applications and content.  With the proliferation of multimedia-savvy mobile devices, bandwidth consumption is not only going to increase but it's demand will be ubiquitous because of their mobility.  If we're to meet that demand, we must plan for scaling capacity uniformly across the network.  Fortunately, many methodologies exist that can be used to our advantage to mitigate the challenge.  For example, you could deploy additional channels over which to spread the load.  With careful planning of the Access Point's (AP) physical deployment and assistance from the controller for channel management, channel re-use becomes viable, especially at 5GHz.    You could also increase the number of AP's within the same geography, letting the controller load-balance the traffic as required to increase the available bandwidth within that geography.  Moving from 801.11a,b,g to 802.11n is a clear win towards dramatically increasing capacity though support for legacy devices may hinder it's effectiveness in the short term.

These examples will sustain us for awhile but, ultimately, will only take us so far.  The RF spectrum supporting our networks is clearly a limited resource.  At some point, we're going to need more spectrum.  In fact, a lot more of it if we're to keep pace with the unbridled growth of multimedia for mobile devices.  There was a recent article in PC World discussing a novel concept to utilize White Space.  White Space is the RF spectrum reserved between each TV channel to minimize the interference between those channels.  Turns out this White Space contains plenty of room to support wireless data in addition to its mission of preventing interference between TV channels.  It's a novel concept that could provide some relief for our spectrum needs without affecting its current users.  Not affecting those users could dramatically reduce the amount of time to win an allocation making more spectrum available sooner than later.

Check it out! 

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