Time to Take IT Outside

Michael Vizard

As the weather starts to improve, more people across the country will start to head outdoors for a little fresh air and sunshine. And increasingly, many of them are going to want to take their mobile computing devices with them to catch up on a little work.

Of course, if they don't have access to a wireless network out there they might just sit around and do nothing. In order to prevent that from happening, many companies are looking into deploying outdoor wireless networks as more or less a subtle way of boosting employee productivity and generally boosting morale.

According to Greg Murphy, Aruba vice president and general manager for outdoor, mesh and industrial products, these outdoor wireless networks can actually serve a dual purpose. On the one hand, next-generation digital surveillance systems can now be deployed on an outdoor wireless network. While at the same time, that wireless network can serve the mobile computing needs of the employees. In that context, the boost in employee productivity is a soft benefit derived from the investment in enhanced security. Of course, IT organizations will need to secure that outdoor wireless network. But with the proliferation of wireless networks inside the building, we're really talking about extending the perimeter of that security to the entire campus environment that surrounds so many workplaces today.

For example, Aruba Networks recently rolled out AirMesh, a family of wireless mesh network products that can effectively support both video and traditional mobile computing traffic because of its Layer-3 routing capabilities, said Murphy.

Like it or not, we live in an age where many employees are bringing their own technology to work. And while there are legitimate concerns about how to secure these devices, the fact remains that it's a trend that IT organizations are going to have to come to terms with one way or another.

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