Wyatt Kash | The value of independent testing

Editor's Desk'commentary:

GCN Editor in Chief
Wyatt Kash

GCN

As some of GCN'S readers might appreciate, there aren't many publishing organizations left in the United States that still test and evaluate technology products independently for their readers. Most that do focus on the interests of consumers, not enterprise managers, and fewer still do so for the benefit of those who manage government systems.

There's a certain irony in that, given the pervasiveness of technology and technology suppliers in today's economy. But the reality is that the costs of supporting an independent testing lab aren't always easy to justify at a time when many in the media business ' from newspapers to specialized business magazines ' are under mounting financial pressures as they compete against Internet alternatives.

Fortunately, GCN continues to see the value of, and continues to get the funding for, the independent testing that comes from the GCN Lab each week. The results are certainly evident in this issue's review of new 802.11n wireless access point devices.

Although 802.11n has meandered through the draft process for more than four years without being finalized, several manufacturers have introduced new 'n' access points, which deliver signals with roughly twice the range and speed of 802.11a, b and g devices. It also has not stopped GCN Lab Director John Breeden II and Senior Analyst Greg Crowe from testing them. This is their second review of 802.11n devices ' they tested earlier versions in April 2007 (GCN.com/1006). It would have been easy to wait until the standard was final, but that could be a long time for some systems managers.

This type of reporting initiative by Breeden, Crowe and their associates has also produced something else: Earlier this month, the GCN Lab received business journalism's highest honor, a Jesse H. Neal National Business Journalism Award, for outstanding journalism and service to GCN's readers.

It's a well-deserved honor for Breeden, who joined GCN 12 years ago and took over GCN Lab operations in 2002, and for Crowe, who brought his networking expertise to the lab three years ago. Their efforts, which are also behind the creation of GCN Lab TV, at GCN.com, continue to reflect their ' and GCN's ' ongoing commitment to serve the distinct needs of our readers.

About the Author

Wyatt Kash served as chief editor of GCN (October 2004 to August 2010) and also of Defense Systems (January 2009 to August 2010). He currently serves as Content Director and Editor at Large of 1105 Media.

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