So, the hottest topic in wireless at the moment is 802.11ac – and I’m sure by now, as I have, you have typed in 802.11ac into google, only to find results that talk about the potential of gigabit wireless, that is runs on the 5GHz band and has 8 spatial streams. Being someone who is not familiar with channel bonding or MIMO, I want to understand more about the drivers of 802.11ac and what it means for your business.
Most employees will have a single mobile device – some will have several. These mobile devices are now designed and used to do more than just calling and texting, they are a way of encouraging greater productivity, enabling an “always connected” culture. Whether employees want to access data over lunch, stream corporate videos during client meetings or staff simply using personally owned devices such as iPhones and iPads throughout the day - your wireless enterprise network is feeling the strain. Yes there are BYOD initiatives to ensure secure access to the network, but 802.11ac provides the speeds necessary to handle the increase in traffic across your network, reducing bottlenecks and ensuring the always connected culture remains.
Next there are the technology considerations – I remember 10 years ago, walking into my first “proper executive role, managing a UK team with a US presence – video calls were expected and this seemed so advanced compared to what I was used to. Whilst weekly video calls were the norm, so was interference, dropping of calls, freeze frames etc. not to mention the enormous costs associated (which came out of my budget). Today, things have moved on. We have skype, face time and other high end web conferencing services, but all still result in the same problem – not enough bandwidth and when there is not enough bandwidth, things grind to a halt. Not so great when you are trying to close a deal you have been working on for over 12 months, or trying collaborate with co-workers on the other side of the world. 802.11ac can handle a minimum of three times the amount of traffic through wireless channels that is currently available.
My conclusion is that ultimately, the challenge for 802.11ac is to meet the demands of enterprise environments – a need to deliver a network with enterprise class speeds and latencies in order to:
Keep up with technology demands: Mobile applications now demand more bandwidth – Video and voice applications have increased the demand for pervasive bandwidth
Keep up with employee demands: Individuals carry multiple wireless devices – With an average corporate mobile device/user ratio approaching 2.7 (laptop, tablet, and/or smartphone), client congestion has become a problem for wireless networks.
With employees, customers, partners etc. all desiring a seemingly instantaneous data transfer experience on their device of choice and any given time and coupled with the increased adoption of video streaming, upgrading to 802.11ac is a necessity (more people = more bandwidth), not a convenience - especially if your business is committed to improving wireless capabilities.
At Building Zones we work with the leading wireless technology vendors, placing us in a unique position of providing you with the very best choice of wireless technologies most suited to your business requirements. If you are looking at ways to migrate to 802.11ac, then talk to Building Zones today. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our website www.buildingzones.com.