Due to the shift from traditional desktop PCs to mobile devices, Wi-Fi is set to outpace wired connections within the next few years. By 2018, network traffic from mobile devices will surpass traffic from PCs. Is your IT service desk ready for the transition?
Wi-Fi is Well-Suited to BYOD Policies
Much of the transition from wired to wireless connections is driven by company BYOD policies. Currently, well over half of all companies have BYOD policies, allowing their employees to select and use the devices they want for work. This has several advantages. Primarily, the cost of the devices (as well as most of the cost for apps, data services, etc.) is shifted to the employee, saving the company money.
BYOD also leads to a higher level of employee morale, because they feel more in control of what they use. Since these mobile devices aren’t much good without wireless service, companies with BYOD policies are leaning on Wi-Fi for office-wide connectivity. Wi-Fi serves mobile users and desktop PC users equally well.
Wi-Fi is a Nice Perk for Customers
Many businesses choose wireless connections for the workplace because it is more convenient for their customers. This is true for the obvious businesses — such as retail, restaurants, and hotels — but is also true for businesses like real estate agencies, financial firms, development firms, and others that frequently have clients in their office spaces. In fact, it is becoming so mainstream that Wi-Fi is expected most anywhere the public goes.
The only downside to providing customers with free wireless connectivity (aside from the security issues) is that customers are known for occupying space to use the Wi-Fi without opening their pocketbooks. In other words, it can cost you over the long run to provide free Wi-Fi when people are taking up space that could be occupied by paying customers. There are, however, ways around this, such as policies regarding how long a customer can stay and use the Wi-Fi without placing an order.
Wi-Fi is Gnerally Less Expensive Than Offering Plug-in Stations
Providing wired connections for everyone in the office is challenging enough, so when faced with needing connections for supplemental devices, client devices, and others, wireless becomes clearly less expensive. It is also easier to maintain. The cost of routers has dropped significantly, allowing businesses to invest in a few pieces of cheap equipment to provide reliable and quality Wi-Fi access to many more users than they could with wired connections. Wi-Fi also fits well within the IT service management system that is in place — working well with both software and hardware asset management solutions.
Wi-Fi Comes With Significant Security Risks
Wireless connections are generally cheaper, easier to maintain, and more flexible for workers as well as customers. The biggest downside is security. It is notoriously harder to provide secure connectivity to numerous users (especially when the general public is involved) than it is to secure wired connections. Any IT infrastructure that employs the use of wireless connectivity needs to boost the security features, including regular monitoring, up-to-date antivirus detection and prevention software, robust firewalls, and other security measures.
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