BYOD and Wi-Fi: Conflict or confluence?

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BYOD is threatening to overwhelm enterprise's Wi-Fi networks. Enterprises are scrambling to deploy additional W-Fi infrastructure, while trying to manage the Wi-Fi networks they have. What is an IT manager to do?

That is the topic of a FierceMobileIT feature article, as well as a webinar being held by FierceMarkets on Wednesday, March 13, at 2 p.m. ET (click here for more information).

With less than 5 percent of the capacity of wired networks in some cases, Wi-Fi networks are struggling to provide service to enterprise users.

Wi-Fi underperformance can come from many sources, including radio signal leakages, noise from other sources, poorly mapped channel usage and less than optimal access point locations.

One approach enterprises are taking to address the issue is to invest more in Wi-Fi equipment. According to the latest stats from Infonetics Research, enterprise spending on Wi-Fi networks and equipment has seen double-digit growth, growth that is expected to continue for the foreseeable future.

More bandwidth is predicted to be available when Wi-Fi moves to the 802.11ac standard, expected to begin next month. This new standard should provide three to five times more throughput out of the Wi-Fi access points, with the goal of reaching a data rate of over 1Gbps. The new standard is also expected to improve network robustness, reliability and RF bandwidth utilization efficiency.

Complicating this picture, enterprise network services need to include private, public and hybrid Wi-Fi networks to accommodate different types of employees, as well as guests with differing levels of access rights. IT professionals who handle network planning now need to include Wi-Fi coverage, management, monitoring and security into their assessments.

The BYOD trend is here to stay. To cope with the burdens and risks posed to their Wi-Fi networks, enterprises need to develop robust networking testing, planning, management and security. Otherwise, the increasing demands will overwhelm the Wi-Fi network, costing the enterprises time, money and productivity. - Fred