IEEE standardizes 801.11r fast Wi-Fi roaming

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IEEE standardizes 801.11r fast Wi-Fi roaming

The IEEE has completed 802.11r, a standard that lets Wi-Fi devices roam quickly between wireless access points (WAP) and which improves the performance of VoIP on enterprise LANs.

Traditionally, 801.11 devices can roam from one access point to another, but it takes about 100ms to re-associate, and several seconds to re-establish authenticated connections using 802.1x. Not good for time-critical apps like VoIP.

According to InfoWorld, "the new standard, 802.11r, known as Fast Basic Service Set Transition, allows the network to establish a security and QoS state for the device at the new access point, before it roams between the two, so the transition can take place in less than 50ms - the standard required for voice roaming."

The article explains that vendors have traditionally either used lower security options on Wi-Fi VoIP (i.e. easily crackable WEP encryption) and put VoIP traffic on separate VLANs to protect the rest of the network. Other company have built networks where there is no roaming because all the access points are on the same channel.

The new IEEE 802.11r standard should help improve enterprise Wi-Fi VoIP functionality, in particular larger buildings.

Source: InfoWorld

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