The Smart Techie was renamed Siliconindia India Edition starting Feb 2012 to continue the nearly two decade track record of excellence of our US edition.

June - 2008 - issue > Cover Feature

Wireless: Accelerating Businesses Worldwide

Jaya Smitha Menon
Monday, June 9, 2008
Jaya Smitha Menon
We have entered a new era of business communications—one in which employees work and collaborate efficiently no matter where on the globe they happen to be. The key trend that is driving this evolution is the adoption of wireless technology. The ‘anytime, anywhere’ paradigm caught up rapidly with the enterprises, leading to a proliferation of the mobile workforce. Notebook sales has increased more than three times faster than desktop sales, and businesses worldwide are deploying wireless local area networks (WLANs) to support their mobile employees.

Wi-Fi technology has been steadily improving for some years, to the extent that many employees now rely on wireless as their primary data connection to the corporate network. Wi-Fi infrastructure for manufacturing and retail organizations, hotels, universities, and schools is already a $ 1 billion market, with annual growth in double digits. “It is now increasingly accepted that a well-designed Wi-Fi network is more secure than a wired LAN connection,” explains Paramjit Puri, Business Development Manager, Advanced Technologies, Cisco Systems, India and Saarc. Likewise, millions of Wi-Fi phones are in use worldwide, demonstrating the maturity of multimedia over Wi-Fi technology. “In the past two years there has been a sea change in the perception,” explains Puri. The adoption of the concept of wireless as an extension to wired networking among the SMBs also gained ground. But large enterprises continued to rule the WLAN.

The Contributing Factors
Reduction in prices of WLAN equipment as well as end user access devices like the laptop was one of the leading factors driving wireless adoption. The market also benefited on the regulatory front. The government completely de-licensed the 2.4 GHz band of low power applications and technologies early in 2005 for their indoor use. This had an impact on the market growth in fiscal 2005-06. This led to the proliferation of the mobile workforce as enterprises increasingly realized the inherent productivity benefits that wireless networks can offer.

Today the enterprises are converting many of their infrastructure deployments to a wireless plane so as to provide agility and flexibility to the employees. Another factor, which led to the introduction of wireless technology in enterprises, is the need to give Internet access to the guests in the lobby or in the conference rooms. “Most of them were apprehensive about giving access to the wired network to an outsider,” explains Puri. So enterprises started moving towards wireless slowly.

There was a major challenge to increase the adoption of wireless in enterprises. All the enterprises had a very heavy wired network already in place. Hence, when they thought about adopting wireless they were concerned about converging the wired and the wireless networks. But wireless vendors like Cisco, Aruba Networks, and Alcatel Lucent found a great opportunity here. They came up with unified wired and wireless network solutions that cost-effectively addressed the wireless network security, deployment, management, and control issues the enterprise faced. It combines the best elements of wireless and wired networking to deliver secure, scalable wireless networks with a low total cost of ownership.

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