How wireless networks provide a genuine competitive advantage for businesses
The power of the wireless network, with its ability to boost productivity and propel information sharing, has long been harnessed by businesses.
Workspaces are becoming more open and mobile, and designing a smarter digital workplace is the future focus of many companies.
While most firms have some degree of wireless connectivity, as IT infrastructures evolve and mature businesses have been left wondering just how deeply they should dive into a wireless approach.
This has left businesses to ponder: should we go completely wireless? Before you can answer that question, it is vital to furnish this consideration with the advantages of going wireless, and deploying a ‘mobile first’ approach to technology adoption.
Utilising a wireless approach and having a network optimised for mobile can provide a genuine competitive advantage for businesses of all sizes.
For starters, a wireless network allows employees to move around freely in their workspace with their laptops and other mobile devices remaining seamlessly connected. This can increase productivity and foster collaboration, with colleagues free to meet-up and work together.
A wireless network then enables colleagues to easily share files and other resources during this collaboration process, while the wireless approach allows users and their devices to receive the same policies and permissions as they connect to the network.
Going wireless also means that office spaces are unshackled by requiring as many physical cables. This frees up space, reduces expenses and makes it easier to add new devices without the requirement for new cabling.
Having a wireless network is also an appealing extra to offer visitors or customers. This is especially the case for retail and hospitality companies, who can generate additional business by being able to offer wireless services.
Finally, there is great scalability to wireless networks. Not limited by the number of connection ports, companies with a wireless network can easily add new users when required.
Getting the right technology
While these advantages seem to suggest that a business should transition to wireless, it is important to temper such plans with the acceptance that each business has its own specific requirements. Also, a business which still has wired offerings which are functioning may wish to gradually evolve their infrastructure to incorporate more wireless capabilities over time.
However, this can only be achieved by having the open and flexible technology infrastructure which enables the best of both worlds in a single eco-system.
The Aruba Mobile First Architecture allows organisations to gracefully transition their existing network to a software-defined enterprise, enabling new features and functionality while supporting legacy systems.
Organisations also need to be able to innovate at their pace and not be locked-in and limited by a single vendor’s architecture. The Aruba offering is an open, multivendor network infrastructure which ensures organisations are not latched to a single vendor solution but can leverage their existing investments.
It also provides temporary guest access to network resources so users can create temporary guest accounts and give permission to access network resources such as conference room video systems, printers, and the internet via an ephemeral secured overlay.
The Aruba offering is autonomous too as it leverages machine learning that uses massive amounts of analytics data in order to understand the operational and security state of the network.
The Aruba Mobileá First Architecture is purposefully designed to deliver a non-stop networking experience for environments where mobile, IoT, and cloud are mission critical.
Keeping it secure
Perhaps one of the greatest myths perpetuated about wireless networks is that they offer greater flexibility and scalability, but are significantly less secure than their wired counterparts.
It is true that many security solutions on the market today are a myriad of security technologies designed for yesterday’s perimeter-based, closed and static environments. This makes them ill-equipped for moving to a wireless future.
However, the Aruba Mobile First Architecture, through its Aruba 360 Secure Fabric, has security built in at all layers in the network to protect the infrastructure, users, and devices from existing and emerging threats from the outside and inside.
Intelligent use of analytics by administrators and machine-learning based automation provides network assurance and begins the shift to a “self-driving” network where IT maintains the infrastructure and policy and users provision services dynamically.
So when should a business go completely wireless? The simple answer is: at their own pace. The advantages of wireless can be gradually folded into a business and added on as required. This enables a firm to migrate to a wireless environment in the areas of the business which would most benefit from the flexibility that a wireless network enables. This is achieved by first deploying an underlying architecture which works across both wired and wireless, but ultimately allows firms to evolve to a wireless future.