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Issue of March 2005 
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Wireless in SOHOs

Wireless in SOHO land

Sanjeev Gupta, Regional Sales Director, North and South Asia, Linksys talks about the use of wireless broadband access products in SOHOs.
by Soutiman Das Gupta

What are the issues related to broadband implementation for a Small Office Home Office (SOHO)?

Once a SOHO opts for broadband access, managing and optimising the use of bandwidth and information security are the two key needs of these companies.

Why are small offices opting for wireless products?

One of the biggest drivers of wireless products has been the rapidly falling prices of Wireless Local Area Network (WLAN) equipment. This has put technology within the reach of SOHOs and Small and Medium Businesses (SMBs). Over the last year, a number of SMBs deployed wireless LANs as their primary networks instead of using them as mere extensions to complement their existing wired networks.

Other drivers include the need to increase productivity. Teams can work in conference rooms, away from their desks and so on. All this leads to becoming more responsive to customers.

Office space can be used in an efficient manner and executives who work from home or are on tour benefit from flexibility. The use of wireless technology does away with capital expenditure on cables.

Some external factors influencing wireless penetration include the falling prices of broadband packages, increased production of Wi-Fi-enabled laptops, and the rapid proliferation of public hot spots.

Small enterprises feel that as low-yield clients, they will not get adequate support from their vendors.

Market forces are ensuring the rapid proliferation of Wi-Fi products across large and small enterprises. Affordable broadband packages and falling prices of equipment have made the SOHO segment a key target for Wi-Fi vendors. To meet the needs of this segment, service providers are investing in adequate support functions.

For instance, Linksys' target segment is the SOHO market and the company has built itself on channel and support strategies. We have set up a 24x7 support centre that is accessible to customers through a toll-free number.

Are initial investments in wireless LAN justified?

Wireless products for small offices are not expensive and they can scale up quite nicely. Once an organisation has a broadband connection, going wireless is effortless. With a minimum investment of Rs 5,000, one can add on a wireless router that ensures seamless connectivity between multiple PCs and laptops.

Each router has a provision for a minimum of four ports and the office can add wireless units as its PCs burgeon. A wireless environment is completely scalable and builds easily on the underlying layer.

Linksys' wireless products are scalable and fully compatible with Cisco products, which may be used when an organisation grows.

Can you provide a price comparison between a 4-node wired network, and a 4-node wireless network in a typical Indian SOHO environment?

A 4-port wired router costs about Rs 3,000 (end user price), while a 4-port wireless router costs about Rs 5,000. Hence, sharing Internet access using wireless is a sound business decision. The wireless router can support four wired and 25 wireless clients.

Soutiman Das Gupta can be reached at soutimand@networkmagazineindia.com

 
     
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Indian Express - Business Publications Division

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