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The 802.11n standard, ratified by the IEEE in 2009 delivers data throughput at up to 300 Mbps in both the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands, a huge improvement over earlier incarnations of the 802.11 standard such as 802.11b, which delivered 11 Mbps in the 2.4 Ghz band only.
The explosion of smartphones, tablets and other wireless devices in the workforce, many of which are now adopting “bring your own device” (BYOD) policies have combined with the capabilities of 802.11n, resulting in a large uptake in wireless LAN (WLAN) implementation in the enterprise.
As transmission speeds have increased and costs have come down, wireless LANs are often cheaper to install and manage than wired networks. However, the traditional multi-channel “micro-cell” approach still followed by many WLAN vendors can be complex to deploy and manage and places severe restrictions on wireless user densities. Vendors such as Fortinet have applied new approaches to the standard to deliver virtualised (virtual channel, virtual port) solutions that are simpler to deploy and manage, support significantly higher densities of users and deliver a wired-like experience.