Wireless LAN cheat-sheet

It is a generally accepted tenet that choice is a good thing. But sometimes when there are lots of choices in a nascent market, with seemingly overlapping benefits and functionality, the breadth of choices can be paralyzing if you’re trying to forge ahead with product selection and implementation. This can be particularly true when it comes to the many subtleties of network and information technology.

For example, do you ever get confused about the details that differentiate wireless LAN/personal-area network technologies, such as 802.11b, HomeRF and Bluetooth (which, by the way, has a few shipping products now)? Below are a few bottom-line basics on each to provide you with a quick reference guide.

* Raw bandwidth capacity:

802.11b: 11M bit/sec.

HomeRF: 1.6M bit/sec (but will support 10M bit/sec this year).

Bluetooth: 1M bit/sec.

* Maximum range between client devices and access points (or between client devices and PCs or other hosts, in the case of Bluetooth technology):

802.11b: 300 feet.

HomeRF: 150 feet.

Bluetooth: 150 feet for 100-milliwatt systems, the power consumed by the other two network technologies. Bluetooth can also operate using 1 milliwatt of power for distances of just 30 feet.

* Ensures voice-over-IP latency and jitter requirements will be met:

802.11b: No.

HomeRF: No.

Bluetooth: Yes.

* Supports isochronous traffic with quality of service (QoS):

802.11b: No (though the 802.11e standard due this year will use a combination of Resource Reservation Protocol and prioritized queuing based on marking traffic by application type for certain levels of general QoS).

HomeRF: Yes.

Bluetooth: Yes.

All are scalable to higher data rates and all can be scaled for use on an international basis.

This story, "Wireless LAN cheat-sheet " was originally published by Network World.

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