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How Wireless 802.11ac Could Be a Win for Microsoft Lync

Wireless standard upgrades often meet with a collective yawn by customers. If the wireless network is getting the job done, a speed increase often won't do enough to improve performance to justify the cost.

But Jamie Stark, senior product manager with Microsoft Lync, is evangelizing a recent wireless standard as a big opportunity to dramatically improve unified communications performance on mobile networks.

The opportunity, which for partners extends beyond those who specialize in Lync, is related to the new 802.11ac wireless standard. The standard was approved in January, and it turbocharges wireless bandwidth to single-link throughput of at least 500MBps.

"The promise of mobility with Lync is really strong. Customers think, 'Not only can I save a lot of money, not having this really extensive wired plant would be great,'" Stark told me. He says expense savings could go as far as removing a standard requirement to have air conditioning on every floor's equipment closet to keep existing switches for old telephone handsets cool.

"If I have a cell phone, tablet and a workstation with a headset, I don't need to be tethered down by a wire," Stark said.

An obstacle has been wireless bandwidth. "If a dozen people are in the conference room looking at a Lync meeting, it's easy to saturate an access point," Stark said.

The 802.11ac equipment removes the bandwidth barrier affecting current traffic levels. "It's absolutely an opportunity now. 802.11ac is now to the point in the market where folks are going to be buying that," Stark said. "The single biggest thing that I bring up to every one of the customers that I talk to is around Wi-Fi."

For more on emerging opportunities around Lync, see the recent RCP Partner Guide to Microsoft Lync here (registration required).

Posted by Scott Bekker on October 07, 2014 at 11:31 AM