Most people have come to expect that the quality of the wireless network experience they get at the office is nowhere near what they get at home. The reason for this has nothing to do really with the skills of the internal IT organization, but rather there are more people trying to share that network at the office than at home. Worse yet, with the rise of the bring-your-own-device (BYOD) phenomenon the actual number of devices being attached to that network per person is rising.
To make matters even more frustrating, many people have Wi-Fi access on their smartphone and tablet PC constantly enabled. Every time they walk into the building, all those devices immediately try to access a corporate network. Smartphones are not as big of a bandwidth hog as a tablet, but given the popularity of the Apple iPad, it’s like everybody having two notebooks trying to access the same wireless network.
This process repeats itself every morning when people come to work and then once again for good measure when everybody comes back from lunch. Of course, end users don’t really care about all this. All they know is that given the quality of the wireless network, the internal IT staff must be incompetent.
As there’s not much the internal IT staff can do about changing the perception of end users, the only real choice is to find a more resilient wireless network that can cope with the demands of BYOD. To that end, Aruba Networks today released a software update to its controllers that not only guarantees a certain amount of bandwidth per device, but also includes a failover capability that allows connections to the network to be restored in a matter of seconds, thereby eliminating the need for end users to reconnect to the network during a temporary service disruption.
According to Ozer Dondurmacioglu, director of product marketing for Aruba, IT organizations can still opt to apply polices to assign dedicated amounts of bandwidth to specific devices being used by certain users. But at a bare minimum they can also apply a bandwidth fairness that doesn’t allow a handful of devices to consume all the bandwidth available one part of the network.
From an IT perspective, the rise of wireless networking has been one giant pain in the posterior. And yet it’s an issue they can’t afford to ignore because so much of the perception of IT is now tied to the wireless network experience. It doesn’t matter if the SAP applications have been up 99.9 percent of them time for the past 10 years; what matters is what end users perceive to be the competency of the IT organization based on their experience on a wireless network.
Like it or not, the most prudent thing any IT organization can do right now in terms of shoring up its popularity with employees is upgrade the wireless network because, after all, perception is always reality.