Wireless Is Here, But Are You Ready?

Wireless was once regarded as the ‘wart’ on the back of wired networks, but now the balance is shifting towards wireless, particularly as organisations want to build on the benefits of their existing, limited wireless deployments.

However, most companies just aren’t ready for that shift. They have wireless hot spots which can’t reach everywhere; or worse still, have implemented wireless networks which can’t be easily upscaled and are destined to be ripped and replaced in a short period of time.

Wireless is more cost-effective, more convenient, less disruptive, encourages productivity – and users want it. The fast growth of BYOD is just one of the indicators that the world is moving steadily towards greater use of wireless. Users want to use their smartphones, tablets and laptops, wirelessly, wherever they happen to be.

That’s great, but who is thinking about the fact that each device makes an incremental load on the network and that each user will typically look to increment their usage? And that companies are going to want to put, not just their web browsing and email onto wireless, but also their business critical applications and multi-media – and they’ll want it to work faultlessly.

If users are to gain the benefits of BYOD and wireless, they need to set up wireless networks with pervasive coverage that have the performance to cope with a high number of users and a wide range of applications, both now and as they expand usage. Wireless networks need to be extremely flexible, so that many more users can be added easily, without affecting performance and without requiring major infrastructure upheaval.

The huge increase in BYOD and wireless in the last couple of years has shown us that the IT landscape can change dramatically and unpredictably in a very short space of time. So anyone installing or upgrading wireless now has to be confident it can cope with any unpredictable rise in wireless use in the future. The only thing that can be reliably predicted is that usage and traffic volumes will increase.

Mobility is now the norm and people expect to connect without wires. With more than 800 million wireless-enabled devices being produced every year, innovative organisations are using them to engage with their customers and transform their business models.

Ian Kilpatrick is chairman of international value added distributor Wick Hill Group, specialists in market development for secure IP infrastructure solutions and convergence. Ian has been involved with the Group for some 35 years. He has an in-depth experience of IT and unified communications (UC) with a strong vision of the future. He looks at these areas from a business point-of-view and his approach reflects his philosophy that business benefits, ease-of-use and cost of ownership are key factors, rather than just technology. He has authored numerous articles and publications, as well as being a regular speaker at conferences, exhibitions and seminars.