West Point Goes Wireless With 802.11a

You certainly don’t hear to many stories about places adopting 802.11a for their WiFi solution, but the military academy at West Point has decided that (a) is the way to go. The Computerworld article has their reasoning, including the higher number of non-overlapping channels, the ability for (a) to go through stone walls and the fact that (a) has a shorter range. While most people are looking for a larger range, West Point figured a shorter range allowed them to have more control over where the wireless network would be available. Also, it appears that the folks at West Point are using the higher bandwidth to the best of their abilities. While the article also describes the various security features the system has (mutual authentication and some sort of VPN technology, it sounds like), I wonder if using (a) was partly a security decision as well. Since most people, these days, are using (b) or (g) cards, that keeps them off the (a) network. Of course, this keeps any legitimate “guests” off the network as well, but they’ve come up with a nifty solution to that problem too: “we will lend them a computer.”

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