3 Common Misconceptions About The Wireless N Access Point

Written by Danny Mareco Danny Mareco | May 23, 2011 | Read Time: 2 mins

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If you think about the internet as your local highway, then an wireless n access point would be the car you drive. Keeping it simple…no matter what car you drive it can only go 55mph and it has to pass an inspection. Access points are similar, the FCC regulates radio power and frequency while the speed is limited by network infrastructure , internet connection and device capabilities.

We have all heard about various companies latest and greatest technology, especially when it comes to access points and their abilities. There are some facts that are often times “tactfully” left out, over-exaggerated orjustsimply not true.

Here is a list of the most common things we hear about access points and the truth behind the matter:

1) "Our Access Point covers more area"

The FCC regulates the radio power in ALL access points, this is the same for the radio in your device, meaning just because your device is receiving a signal doesn’t mean the radio in it is strong enough to get one back. RF dissipates much like light, when you see a car’s lights 2 miles down the road there isn’t enough reflection for the driver to see you.

2) Access Point handles the traffic locally rather than sending it back to a controller

The claim here is that the millisecond routing time doesn’t happen, the fact is 99% of what people do on a network doesn’t happen locally to begin with. Internet traffic HAS to get back to the gateway, this is where the controller would sit, so that claim is negated. As for network resources, unless they are plugged directly into the access point you are connecting to that traffic is also being routed back to another location.

3) "Our Access Point can handle more clients then anyone else’s"

Two points – PROVE IT and SHOW ME REAL LIFE APPLICATIONS. Going back to the car scenario, if a sales person tells you the car can go 0-200 in 15 seconds you would want to see it right? Then you have to think about how practical in day-to-day life that is, the fact is it doesn’t matter. We didn’t even account for the fact that for the price of the 200 mph car we can get 4 cars that do 55 mph and carry 4 times the amount of people.

I find claims like this made to customers all the time, the funny thing is they are 100% irrelevant. It really makes people think when you ask to go to the room where 300 users are going to be using the network at the same time, especially when they only have 100 users total.

At the end of the day the playing field in terms of AP’s and their capabilities are pretty evenly matched. The real features that determine how a WLAN performs are found in the management software. Networks need to be designed first and foremost using coverage, capacity and performance.

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