One Gigabit WLAN Speeds Coming Sooner Than You Think; Is Your IT Shop Ready?

M. Spanbauer
M. Spanbauer

Summary Bullets:         

  • The combination of the “bring your own device” (BYOD) phenomena and higher-speed WLAN access will further exacerbate IT challenges.
  • Processing power on the next generation of tablets and phones will change the paradigm for how enterprise users interact with their applications.

If you have not yet heard, the IEEE’s 802.11ac wireless LAN standard is imminent, and while the standard still may not be ratified for up to a year, this will not stop product developers from taking advantage of early release chips in the hyper-competitive consumer space.  However, this also matters to the enterprise IT department, as some of these devices are incredibly powerful, such as the ASUS Transformer Prime, the first quad-core tablet (though it does not have an .11ac radio).  There is also speculation that the iPad 3 will possess a comparably powerful chip.  This processing power opens up new potential opportunities for malicious damage to be done via rogue security software (or ‘rogueware’).  Still, with the advent of this much faster WLAN specification (speeds up to 1.3 Gbps will be possible), we may also see radical changes to the ways in which users access applications and interact with these resources.  Consider that these new tablets, phones, etc. will have processing power surpassing the desktops of just a couple years ago, as well as a mobile 1G throughput capacity.  This throughput and CPU performance should smash any limitations from a performance perspective for VDI and alter the ways in which we interact with critical applications.

For IT today, this further complicates the challenges of management, policy control, application, and ultimately supporting the organization.  Fortunately, there is some time, as these early devices are driven from the consumer side of the world and enterprise APs and infrastructure will not likely be available (even pre-standard) until early 2013.  However, it is coming, and if there are weaknesses in your policy management or lingering security concerns about the mobile devices coming onto your network, now is the time to address them.

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