While the effect of gigabit wireless on large enterprises or established businesses is debatable, expect SMBs to prefer wireless as their primary connectivity option due to the convenience and the comparatively modest needs of smaller businesses. Given the prospect of future upgradability, the arrival of 802.11ac may also prompt organizations currently adopting a "wait and see" posture to finally deploy 802.11n. Given that gigabit wireless may well be adequate to meet the needs of most SMBs, its arrival may well result in businesses replacing wired Ethernet with wireless in 2012.
10. Windows 8 triggers big changes
Despite being a singular product, there is no doubt mind that this hotly anticipated operating system will trigger a wave of change across the entire PC industry. Expected to be released in the second half of 2012, Microsoft has given the assurance that Windows 8 will not require new hardware. Indeed, the use of advanced memory management techniques and memory deduplication could well see Windows 8 running on slightly older hardware -- a boon to SMBs looking to keep their IT budgets down.
Windows 8 will work with both traditional desktops as well as tablet devices, and will be available in x86 and ARM versions to facilitate the use of devices based on power-efficient ARM-based processors. Though it is too early at this point to tell the effect that Windows 8 desktop will have on SMBs, it is evident that Microsoft has incorporated its business-management smarts into Windows 8. Specifically, administrators will be able to make use of group policy and PowerShell to manage Metro-style apps on Windows 8, allowing for a level of fine-grained control not available on competing platforms.
Paul Mah is a freelance writer and blogger who lives in Singapore. Paul has worked a number of years in various capacities within the IT industry, which includes programming and heading IT departments. He now writes a number of regular columns about technology and lectures on IT. In his spare time, Paul enjoys tinkering with tech gadgets, smartphones and networking devices. You can reach Paul at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter at @paulmah.
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