According to a recent report from Juniper Research, the number of employee owned smartphones and tablets entering the workplace is set to increase to 350 million by 2014, up from 150 million this year. This influx of devices continues to drive the Bring-Your-Own-Device (BYOD) culture.
However, businesses looking to implement a BYOD initiative have discovered that Wi-Fi, which used to be seen as a ‘nice-to-have’ rather than a necessity, has become essential to support the influx of new devices into the workplace.
The typical wireless network was designed to simply provide additional connectivity in meeting or conference rooms, rather than supporting the growing number of Wi-Fi enabled devices entering the workplace. When building out an enterprise class wireless infrastructure to support the growing number of devices, businesses will face a number of challenges, including:
- Connectivity – Businesses must ensure comprehensive coverage and capacity throughout the premises to allow uninterrupted wireless access
- Security – the traditional PSK model (WPA2-Personal), which is great for home networks, has limitations when organisations seek better security or differentiated network policies for each user type. IT administrators also often lack the expertise, time, budget or backend systems to use the recommended WPA2-Enterprise to alleviate the issues associated with WPA2-Personal
- Scalability – Businesses need to ensure that they have a scalable solution in place, especially as the number of employee owned smartphones and tablets entering the workplace continue to grow
I believe that the process of integrating, managing and troubleshooting all of these extra devices is seen by many organisations as a cumbersome task. However, I believe that businesses can tackle connectivity challenges effectively with the adoption of optimised Wi-Fi.
This is because the majority of mobile devices; smartphones and tablets do not have wired interfaces and businesses cannot rely on the crude Wi-Fi and 3G that is already in place. Businesses must leverage their existing network resources to extend policies to their wireless users; ensuring that they have a Wi-Fi solution in place that can deliver the connectivity and coverage that staff will require.