The Growing Pains of an Evolving Connected World

For many businesses, we are becoming more dependent on wireless and the reality of cloud-based applications.  This brings with it greater demands on our WiFi networks and the bandwidth needed to be productive. 

Let’s delve into the circumstantial conditions and the physical constraints that many companies and institutions are experiencing as a result.  Ready? 

The time was that a business could measure its needs based upon ’butts in a chair’, each user accounted for one connected device.  With the advent of wireless, and the liberation it promised, organizations added access points allowing users to connect to the network without being cabled.  Now, notebooks, tablets and smartphones are pervasive, some companies are even opting to forego cabling on new and fit-out facilities.  Translating the impact of this reality, the average organizational infrastructure is now functioning at only fifty percent of the new load requirement. 

Weighing further on effectiveness is the increased dependence upon hosted industry software, the cloud.  Most businesses are running on the same broadband as they did four or five years ago when the applications running the operation were internally installed.  Often these connections are asynchronous, having more downward speed than up because we pulled down information and only sent up clicks, which dampens user’s present bidirectional data traffic needs. 

Furthermore, whereas we could suffer with the temporary loss of the internet as work could be conducted unaffected, today productivity would screech to a halt were we to lose this vital link to the systems we rely so heavily upon.  Few businesses have adapted by introducing a redundant Internet Service Provider (ISP). 

With increases in both users/devices and broadband, and potentially a secondary ISP, businesses and institutions are compelled to meet demands that firewalls, installed even two to three years ago, are ill-equipped to handle.  To meet the challenge, stronger firewalls with greater throughput and higher user/device counts are necessary. 

Lastly, the wireless access points used to connect these users and their devices are often undersized.  Wireless access points are governed by standards which define speed, range and the number of connection supported.  Older access points supported significantly less connections and had far less range; they were typically installed for a unique purpose, such as a conference room.  With the introduction of additional areas like offices, hallways, manufacturing floors, etc. newer access points are necessary; the current standard can accommodate four times the number of connections at two and one half times the range and deliver twice the speed. 

In short, it’s time for the average organization to reevaluate their readiness for a world that is different than it was merely a few short years ago.  The decisions you make today will affect your company’s efficiency tomorrow. 

Reliance on old models is an impractical approach to our evolving connected world; they lack the capability and capacity to deliver scalability, dependability and agility.  These issues ought to be the topic of discussions you should be having with your IT provider, more aptly, that they should be having with you.

– Originally published: The Greater West Chester Chamber of Commerce, Chamber Chatter Magazine, July-August 2016 Issue