Tablets Straining Your WiFi Network?


One of the trends that we’ve seen in our recent research is that the rising popularity of enterprise tablets, led by the iPad, is putting a strain on enterprise WiFi networks. This is leading to further demand for IT leaders to develop a cohesive strategy for managing the converged wireless/wired network.

The problem comes from the large bandwidth-consumption demand of tablet-based applications such as video and content services that download gobs of data during regular updates. Several IT leaders told us that they were unprepared for the impact of tablets on the wireless networks, and thus had to accelerate plans to deploy increased access point density or upgrade 802.11 b/g networks to 802.11n.

Tablets, and their bandwidth needs, will also put a wrinkle in efforts to reduce bandwidth demands within small offices by deploying desktop virtualization and WAN optimization. Companies that may have been considering transitioning branch offices to public wireless services such as LTE or WiMax may want to rethink those plans if tablet users will access content and applications across those links, rather than via wireless services over their own 3G capabilities.

Meanwhile, now is the time for companies to take a hard look at the role of wireless inside their walls. Investigate 802.11n for its ability to not only deliver higher bandwidth, but to support capabilities such as QoS to meet the needs of wireless voice and video applications.

Nemertes has previously noted the rise of the completely unwired workforce, with 11% of companies having at least some percentage of their workforce that never plugs into a wired network connection. As the tablet becomes an alternative computing device to a laptop or PC, and as tablets find an increasing home inside companies for process or vertically specific applications, we expect the strain on wireless networks to grow. IT leaders should proactively work with their vendors to meet the growing demand for wireless bandwidth.

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Copyright © 2011 IDG Communications, Inc.