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Cable could become obsolete as wireless takes off

29 August 2001 News

The business case for cable-based networks in certain market sectors will be rendered redundant in two years, by when wireless networks will come to dominate the market as a more useful, convenient and cheaper way of installing and maintaining intranets.

"This will also impact on the mobile environment, where employees will be able to use their company's networks for mobile communications, be it via a laptop or cellphone," says Dave Shepherdson, CEO of SPS South Africa, the value-added networking distributor. "I foresee the demand for wireless networking being similar to the take-off of cellular telephony in South Africa."

His predictions are supported by two recent international reports. A survey conducted by Digi International at Las Vegas' Networld and Interop trade show found that 67% of mid-to-senior IT networking and management decision-makers intend to adopt wireless connecting devices in industrial automation and retail environments. SPS represents Digi products in South Africa.

The move to wireless was also noted in a March 2001 report by Gartner Group, which predicted that spending on wireless technologies, while currently subordinate to cable, will grow faster in absolute terms, at an annual rate of 21,3%.

Although cost is currently regarded as a barrier to entry, Shepherdson says this is inaccurate as device prices are dropping, and when the savings incurred through not physically having to cable buildings are factored in, wireless networks will soon be lower-cost than cable.

"Unless a company wants to use a bandwidth-intensive application such as videoconferencing, wireless is ideal for all other business applications, be they static, graphic or text-based," Shepherdson says, pointing out that wireless already provides a throughput of 11,3 Mb to the desktop.

"The potential in retail alone is huge, with cash registers, barcode scanners, credit card readers, ordering forms and data query facilities all being made mobile and instantly accessible. When combined with existing thin client technology, there can be little doubt that wireless networking is set to be the next great revolution in digital communication," Shepherdson concludes.

For further information contact Dave Shepherdson, SPS, (011) 315 6892, daves@sps.co.za





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