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802.11n promises, and delivers, big bandwidth increases and significantly better coverage. For some organizations it is a must-have, but in many cases there is not a strong financial argument for a wholesale upgrade. While a few enterprises may actually be able to cost-justify a large investment in the technology, most will rely on qualitative measures to justify the investment. It is important to consider the costs and benefits of an 802.11n implementation.
The Hidden Costs and Challenges
Implementing 802.11n is not simply a matter of replacing Access Points (APs). Due to the increased bandwidth capacity and power requirements, it is possible that significant network upgrades will be necessary. With a theoretical maximum throughput of 300Mbps on most enterprise products, 10/100Mbps LAN infrastructure will not be sufficient to support the new APs. It will be necessary to upgrade at least some of the LAN infrastructure to support Gigabit Ethernet for the 802.11n APs.