Existing 802.11b products operate in the 2.4 GHz frequency spectrum, resulting in
interference with Bluetooth products. 802.11a products, however, will operate mostly in
the relatively empty 5 GHz bands, encouraging a happy coexistence between wireless LANs
and Bluetooth devices.
Which wireless LAN standard should you use? If you need to deploy a system today,
then the best alternative is 802.11b. If you need higher data rates and can wait until
the beginning of 2001, then 802.11a is an option. If you're simply transmitting bar
codes as part of a warehouse inventory system, you can probably get by with a wireless
LAN supporting 802.11's data rate of 1 or 2 Mbps. For applications having relatively
high utilization, such as video transmission, 802.11b's 11 Mbps may be enough, or the
higher data rates of 802.11a may be necessary. Keep in mind, though, that the faster
802.11a products are likely to be more expensive.
Next time, we'll help you define your wireless network requirements.