Security and performance concerns hold back UK wireless adoption

Employee mobility cited as key driver for wireless in the workplace.  Almost half (47%) of businesses polled have already implemented a wireless network.  43% of those questioned have not yet adopted wireless connectivity due to security fears.

Employee mobility (43%), convenience (23%) and increased productivity (12%) are the key factors driving wireless network adoption by UK businesses according to recent industry research conducted on behalf of wireless network assurance solution provider, AirMagnet. The research demonstrated that although British companies are increasingly aware of the benefits offered by wireless connectivity in the workplace, concerns about security and poor performance continue to hold back wLAN (wireless local area network) adoption for many firms.

The survey found that 43 per cent of companies who have so far resisted wireless adoption in the workplace have done so because they are concerned about how to ensure the wireless networks security. A further 29 per cent are delaying implementation because they perceive wLANs to be slower or less reliable than traditional wired networks.

Wireless technology can be highly effective in giving firms a competitive advantage over their peers through increased productivity. Access to a wireless network enables increased productivity via remote working and offers businesses more efficient use of resources and infrastructure without sizeable installation costs. These benefits are clearly being felt by business who have already made the transition to wireless with almost two thirds (63%) of those already using the technology saying they intended to increase investment in their wireless network in the future.

Ian Schenkel, MD EMEA at AirMagnet comments: The research demonstrates that although many companies have already moved to a combination of wired and wireless networks in the office to increase employee productivity, incorrect preconceptions are continuing to hold many more back. This means that most are still missing out on the increased productivity, mobility and convenience delivered by wireless networks. 

Schenkel continues: The security concerns expressed by respondents are easily addressable using a variety of different methods. For example, point monitoring using a mobile device or laptop solution allows users to identify isolated risks. Ad hoc or continuous monitoring with an enterprise level tool which alerts users to any potential threats or security weaknesses, in some cases proactively scanning the network for potential issues, adds a further level of security to protect users.

The perception that wireless networks are less reliable than their wired counterparts seems to linger on but this does not have to be the case. In order to ensure coverage and reliable performance as well as fast speeds users simply need to plan ahead. Todays WiFi survey tools are able to analyse sites, locating the best position for access points and avoiding interference such as glass, lift shafts and metal doors prior to implementation. In the case of an installed network, a survey tool can offer a clear understanding of potential obstructions and where extra access points could be of use in the future avoiding the concerns identified by respondents.

About AirMagnet Inc.

AirMagnet Inc. is the leader in security, performance and compliance solutions for wireless LANs. The company's innovative products include AirMagnet Enterprise, the leading 24x7 WLAN security and performance management solution, and AirMagnet Laptop Analyzer which is known as the de facto tool for wireless LAN troubleshooting and analysis. Other products provide WLAN site survey and design, RF interference detection, remote diagnostics, and the world's first voice over WiFi analysis solution. AirMagnet has more than 6,000 customers worldwide, including 75 of the Fortune 100. The company, based in Sunnyvale, Calif., has offices worldwide.

AirMagnet Top Tips for Improving Wireless Networks

So you want to implement WIFi or you already have a wireless network that needs improving. What do you need to consider and how can you ensure your wireless network performs as well as possible?  Ian Schenkel, MD EMEA of AirMagnet explains how to get the most from your wireless network.

Before you install do a site survey

When designing wireless networks the first step is to consider how many access points are required. Equally, if you are moving into a building that already has an installed network, it is essential that you map where the access points are, and whether they are adequate for your requirements. One is not enough if the office is spread over several floors or if the wireless network needs to support more than 50 people.  It is also important to consider the effects various building materials may have on the network. Obstructions between the access point emitting the wireless signal and the work stations cause diffraction, refraction and reflection of the radio frequency (RF) signal. Metal, glass and heavy stone are the worst culprits, degrading signal quality and potentially leading to RF leakage outside the corporate physical boundaries. Access points are usually best mounted high up in central locations. However, in multi-storey buildings its best to be aware that pipes in the ceiling and objects above may also prevent users from getting the most out of the network. A simple way to avoid such issues is to use a WiFi survey tool to analyse the site in order to detect the best position

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