Session 3B: PANEL 1 Building and Managing Large Wireless LANs - Real World Experiences Moderator Victor Bahl, Microsoft Research - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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Session 3B: PANEL 1 Building and Managing Large Wireless LANs - Real World Experiences Moderator Victor Bahl, Microsoft Research. Monday, September 29 1997 10:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m . Building and Managing Large Wireless LANs - Real World Experiences. Moderator

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Session 3B: PANEL 1 Building and Managing Large Wireless LANs - Real World Experiences Moderator Victor Bahl, Microsoft Research

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Session 3B: PANEL 1Building and Managing Large Wireless LANs - Real World ExperiencesModeratorVictor Bahl, Microsoft Research

Monday, September 29 199710:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.

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Building and Managing Large Wireless LANs - Real World Experiences


Victor Bahl, Microsoft Research Redmond U.S.A

Panelist(in order of presentations)

Barry Forde, Lancaster University, U. K.

David Hughes, Old Colorado Communications, U.S.A.

Ben Bennington, Carnegie Mellon University, U.S.A.

Nigel Davies, University of Lancaster, U. K.

Microsoft Research

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Wireless LANs

  • Provide Un-tethered access to the NET (wired LANs)

  • Support (limited and sporadic) host mobility (1.4 m/sec)

  • Support connection-oriented and connection-less services

  • Support heterogeneous traffic classes (it’s the 90’s !)

  • Are cost effective, secure and provide QoS (really?)

  • Minimum data rate: 1-2 Mbps; Minimum coverage: 100m

  • Transmission technology - RF, IR

  • Are standards compliant - IEEE 802.11, HIPERLAN 1, HIPERLAN 2 / WATM(?)

  • Can work with infrastructure support and without infrastructure support (ad-hoc networks)

Microsoft Research

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Application Areas

  • Internet access via enterprise networks, home networks, and public networks

  • LAN extension at hospitals, factory floors, older buildings, rural areas

  • Inter-LAN bridges - point-to-point connectivity between buidings

  • On-the-fly networks - conference registrations, campaign headquarters, military camps, airplanes, trains

  • Nomadic access to printers, to light switches!

  • Education - wireless class rooms, wireless internet access

  • Wearable (BodyLAN) - Field service operators

Microsoft Research

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MobiCom ‘97 Spontaneous Survey

  • How many of you have heard of a Wireless LAN?

  • How many of you regularly use a wireless LAN for real work? (student researchers don’t count)

  • How many of you would like to use a Wireless LAN?

Microsoft Research

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Wireless LANs - A Brief History?

  • Wireless data modems first appeared in 1981-82 (15 years ago !)

  • FCC allocated the ISM (2.4 GHz) band for commercial (WLAN) applications in 1985 (12 years ago !)

  • First “high speed” 2 Mbps wireless LAN products appeared in late 1990 (7 years ago !)

  • Work on IEEE 802.11 (CSMA/CA) began in 1990 (first draft in 1994)

  • ETSI’s HIPERLAN group set up in mid 1991 (6 years ago)(spectrum allocated by CEPT at 5.15-5.25 GHz in early 1993)

Microsoft Research

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Why are wireless LANs not Ubiquitous ?

  • Lack of horizontal market focus, limited successes in vertical markets

    Infrastructure build-up has been slow

  • Battery life is a huge problem

  • Applications behave poorly with dropped packets, and wireless packets do get dropped

  • Disappointing ease-of-use (configuration requires a graduate degree), inadequate displays, keyboards, and user-interfaces for mobile handhelds

  • The case for value .v.s. cost is unclear

    Wireless PCMCIA adapters - $600-$800, Access points $1500-2500

    Wired Ethernet PCMCIA adapters - $150 - $500, Hubs 12-port $150

Microsoft Research

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Questions for the Panelist ?

  • Tell us about your WLAN deployment

  • What have your learnt in the process? - give us guidelines for building our own large scale wireless LANs

  • Tell us about potential pitfalls - we are interesting in hearing horror stories?

  • Do you believe the technology is ready for prime time? If not then consider what we do:

    We are researchers…

    • Share with us your wish list -- what would you like us to focus on?

      We are practitioners...

    • Tell us what we should fix and what more should we build?

      Challenge for the panelist - Make us believe !

Microsoft Research

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Panel Introductions

Barry Forde(

  • Assistant Director of Computing at the University of Lancaster

  • Pioneered the development of a low-cost high speed microwave inter-institute radio network - EDNET

    David R. Hughes(

  • Partner of The Old Colorado City Communications

  • Wireless LAN evangelist. Builds Wireless LANs in rural and hard to wire areas under the auspicious of NSF

Microsoft Research

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Panel Introductions (Continued)

Bernard J. Bennington (

  • Director of the Information Networking Institute at CMU, U.S.A.

  • Principal visionary and architect behind the largest (campus-wide) WLAN deployment (> 110 base stations) in the US

    Nigel Davies (

  • Professor at Lancaster University, U.K.

  • In the process of deploying WaveLAN based WLAN with about 75% coverage and creating context-sensitive mobile multimedia applications for city visitors

Microsoft Research

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Final thoughts…

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Some final thoughts on WLANS

  • The killer application is “access everywhere”. To succeed this is the one that has to be promoted energetically (need to go after the horizontal markets)

  • WLAN have to be very easy to configure, maintain, and manage.

  • WLAN have to be secure and private – key to enterprise networking

  • Researchers should continue working on improvements in speed, reliability, latency, and coverage

  • Practitioners should continue working on system design and packaging, form factors, infrastructure, applications and ease of use

Microsoft Research

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Putting WLANs in perspective

  • It has taken wired LANs over 30 years to get to where we are today

  • Wireless LANs (products) have only been around for 7 years….

    Thanks !

Microsoft Research

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