The Mobility of Modern Business—and How It Impacts Wi-Fi Networks

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The Mobility of Modern Business—and How It Impacts Wi-Fi Networks

The growth in mobile devices and usage can affect enterprise network performance

Mobile devices are growing exponentially in number year after year. For businesses to embrace the mobile technology they need—and adapt to the ever-increasing number of devices on their network—IT strategies need to evolve to deal with the stress.

Before establishing that strategy, it’s important to understand the landscape of mobile devices. How are businesses using mobile technology? How are end-users and customers utilizing it to interact with your business? How does the IoT come into play? And what impact do these developments have on network performance?

Let’s take a look at some of the most recent data on business mobile usage, and how IT teams can design high-performing Wi-Fi networks to adapt.

Data on business mobile usage

85% of businesses rely on smartphones for doing business, and 69% rely on tablets.

The number of businesses with employees tied to desktop computers in an office is shrinking every year. And the work done on smartphones and tablets reflects an overall shift to a mobile society. Remote employees need mobile devices to stay connected and do their jobs. Even workers in the office want to be portable, using tablets, laptops, and phones to move from space to space and collaborate with others.

69% of IT decision-makers believe BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) policies are beneficial to their workplace.

Some businesses provide company devices that are appropriately configured to adhere to security and operational standards, but many do not. These companies rely on a BYOD policy that allows employees to bring in the tools they need to succeed, primarily smartphones, tablets, and laptops.

This poses a challenge for network designers in several ways, but the largest is security. At the end of the day, these devices leave the office to connect to many other networks. Employees may not adhere to security best practices outside of work, exposing potentially sensitive company.

However, many IT specialists are on board with BYOD policies for the simple fact that they reduce costs and can increase productivity. Employees are much more comfortable on their own devices, which means they can learn and work faster. They also have these devices on them at all times, which decreases response time.

Over 25% of businesses use IoT technology for normal operations.

The Internet of Things (IoT) has countless applications in any industry. From healthcare to manufacturing, this technology that includes wearables, analytics tools, tracking and monitoring systems, and barcode readers (among many others), is transforming the way businesses run.

The number of worldwide IoT devices is projected to reach 43 billion by 2023, three times as many in 2018. This rate of growth is expected to impact business networks significantly.

There are approximately 60.6 million wearable users in the United States.

Wearable technology is a rapidly growing sector of the IoT market, and one network designers need to take very seriously. In a business setting, wearables often take the form of smartwatches, digital badges, and smart glasses. In a survey of over 500 full time and part-time employees, 16% are using wearables for their job, and we will undoubtedly see this number increase.

Each U.S. household has an average of 11 connected devices.

Businesses with little outside traffic can depend on a steady number of devices accessing the network at any given time. But others, such as hospitals, school campuses, and storefronts, have to be flexible to accommodate a fluctuating number of devices per person connecting to their network. There has to be a strategy to prioritize network security while also providing excellent service.

Using wireless network monitoring to maintain a high-performing network

Network managers will already be familiar with best practices for network design to overcome some of the common issues organizations face from growing mobile usage. Three of the essential action steps are:

  • Separate guest and business networks: Maintain a distinct guest network to protect network security and performance. Limit access to critical applications to the business network only.
  • Establish a secure BYOD policy: If your business adopts a BYOD policy, it is critical that your IT team implements security protocols and trains the team accordingly. Establish guidelines for which devices are allowed and how to handle software updates, backup storage, application usage, and security access.
  • Monitor, monitor, monitor: Mobile Eye from 7SIGNAL  is an application or agent that is installed on the device and proactively identifies performance issues.

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