Avoid Losing Enterprise WLAN Sales To SOHO Equipment
Here are some points to mention if your client is considering using SOHO (small-office-home-office) WLAN equipment.
Access point (AP) performance - SOHO APs have lower performance and a dozen users on one AP would be considered a substantial load. Many SOHO APs do not support pre-emptive roaming, a must-have feature in a mobile environment. Quality-of-Service and point-to-point configuration options are very rare.
Limited antenna options - Most SOHO APs have only fixed antennas because additional antenna options cost money to certify. This means more APs are required for the same coverage achieved with enterprise-class APs.
AP management - Management of many APs is not an issue in the SOHO environment, so there are no wireless network management tools, and usually no SNMP support.
Environmental considerations - Installations in small office or home environments do not require industrial temperature tolerances or Power-over-Ethernet. With an average cost to run an AC line in a warehouse approaching $1,000, a SOHO AP could cost much more than an enterprise-class AP.
Security - While most SOHO APs support 128-bit WEP (Wired Equivalent Privacy), other security measures such as Kerberos, TKIP (Temporal Key Integrity Protocol), EAP/TLS (Extensible Authentication Protocol/Transport Layer Security), RADIUS (Remote Authentication Dial-In User Service), or Wi-Fi's new WPA (Wi-Fi Protected Access) standard are not supported. Most, if not all, SOHO equipment will not be upgradeable to the upcoming 802.11i standard.
Service - Services that enterprise vendors consider basic are usually not available with SOHO products, including hardware installation kits (e.g. mounting brackets, lightning arrestors), on-site service, site surveys, network analysis, and spectral analysis.
Software - SOHO equipment usually has no software tools such as a site survey application. Look for notebook PC cards with a utility that defines various profiles (e.g. an office profile and a Starbucks hot spot profile) using an NICTT (network interface card task tray) applet.