How Bandwidth Restrictions Will Impact Enterprise Mobility


The rise of the mobile enterprise continues to cause challenges for IT managers. The primary concern we hear relates to increasing employee demand to use the latest Apple or Android-based smartphones for work. IT leaders tell us they are spending a great deal of effort to craft policies and procure mobile device management platforms to support multiple devices. But a growing challenge is on the horizon, thanks to increasing restrictions on (and costs of) mobile data services.

Recently Virgin Mobile joined the list of mobile service providers who implement restrictions on wireless data bandwidth. Virgin Mobile notified customers of its unlimited mobile data plans that it would restrict bandwidth once the customer exceeds 5 Gigabits of download bandwidth in a given month. This leaves Sprint as the only wireless carrier that doesn’t currently restrict unlimited data services.

These restrictions will impact enterprise mobility plans in two ways. First, they will raise the cost of providing mobile applications to workers. Second, they will limit the ability of the enterprise to innovate both for internal and customer-facing applications. Services that include video could become crippled if bandwidth isn’t available. Applications such as video conferencing, video streaming, and application sharing will become increasingly difficult (and expensive) to deliver to mobile workers.

Back in 2008 Nemertes predicted that restrictions on access bandwidth would limit Internet innovation, and now, unfortunately, our predictions are coming true. Hopefully the promise of emerging 4G data services based on WiMax and LTE aren’t crippled by increasing bandwidth restrictions imposed by service providers.

In the meantime, enterprise IT managers should plan for more expensive mobile data services to avoid bandwidth caps. And, they should look into technologies such as virtualized desktop infrastructure (VDI) and application delivery optimization (ADO) that can reduce application bandwidth requirements.


Copyright © 2011 IDG Communications, Inc.

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