by Eduard du Plessis, CEO of EOH Network Solutions Division
Several developments point to a very near future scenario in which the fixed LAN that has become the de facto standard is completely replaced by wireless technology. The main driver of this is, of course, mobility. However, fast delivery of cloud-based services and applications is also pushing the LAN in the direction of wireless, as I’ll elaborate on below.
The need for a high-performance LAN
With organisations increasingly moving more of their applications to the cloud and consuming more cloud services, the spotlight is falling on the LAN as a crucial link in the delivery and consumption chain of these solutions.
The default traditional solution to this would be to increase the speed and capacity of the Ethernet connections, by installing fibre, for instance. However, this will soon be the second-best option.
With the next Wi-Fi protocol standard (802.11ax) scheduled for ratification in 2019, Wi-Fi speed will reach 10Gbps. This will make it potentially faster than cable. As a result, companies like Cisco are predicting that Wi-Fi traffic will exceed wired traffic by around 2018.
Mobility, mobility, mobility
The growing imperative for organisations to provide full mobile access is only going to gain momentum, particularly as millennials enter the workplace in greater numbers. They are so accustomed to working and communicating via mobile devices that they regard this as a basic pillar of work life.
Consequently, Gartner predicts that by 2018 the number of mobile devices in the workplace will treble. This will need to be catered for in LAN design and configuration. Multiple mobile access points will need to be positioned in optimal locations.
This goes hand in hand with other developments that we can soon expect to see in the workplace. Dedicated workspaces, desktops (and perhaps even laptops), and desk phones will be replaced by more fluid office layouts and locations, with more and more mobile workers connecting to the network wirelessly.
Wireless LAN – the inevitable next step
Creating a wireless LAN will enable the necessary progression to a more agile way of working. It will provide the flexibility to add and manage users, applications and devices more easily and cost-effectively.
Moreover, the new millennial-dominated workforce will make employment decisions based on a company’s ability to provide hyperconnectivity for seamless mobility and the ability to work anywhere. Attracting the right talent and skills in the future may well depend on your business being able to do this.