Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Blueprint: Top Three 2015 Predictions for Wi-Fi Networks

by Bruce Miller, Vice President of Product Marketing, Xirrus

Analysts predict that by 2018, there will be more than 10 billion mobile-ready devices and connections - about three billion more than now. Further 2018 predictions expect mobile IP traffic will reach an annual run rate of 190 exabytes, up from less than 18 exabytes in 2013. New and innovative Wi-Fi technology must be used to manage the massive increase in mobile data traffic.

Wireless technology enables businesses to interact with customers, partners and the entire supply chain from anywhere, anytime and on any device, ensuring business continues under even the most challenging circumstances. Further, those with Wi-Fi enabled devices expect connectivity and continuity when they visit a hotel, attend a sporting event or conference, on school campuses and even in retail outlets. As we enter 2015, IT networking professionals should consider the following when planning their Wi-Fi network infrastructure: future-proofing your Wi-Fi network, cloud-based services adoption, and migration to 802.11ac Gigabit Wi-Fi.

No. 1 - Enterprises seek to future-proof their networks

Wireless technology and devices continue to evolve at a rapid pace (e.g., Wave 1 and Wave 2 802.11ac) in tandem with rapid growth in wireless network and mobile application usage. New Wi-Fi networking standards emerge every few years and constantly updating a wireless infrastructure strains the IT budget. A future-proof Wi-Fi network lowers the total cost of ownership by enabling technology upgrades without deploying new network infrastructure.

Previously, upgrading wireless infrastructure involved substantial planning and deployment resources and required a robust IT budget to purchase hundreds of replacement Access Points (APs). However, the ever-changing Wi-Fi standards landscape necessitates hardware and software upgradability within the network. Replacing older radios with 802.11ac Gigabit Wi-Fi radios simplifies upgrades, as well as, lowers costs by eliminating new equipment needs and new cabling. As 802.11ac Wi-Fi enabled devices increase in the market place, networks will require upgrades to meet the demands of both devices and mobile applications.

No. 2 - Cloud-based services become a driver for better Wi-Fi

Cloud-based services have driven immense changes in enterprise IT everywhere. IT lacks visibility of and no longer controls all the applications running over their networks. These applications increasingly reach into the cloud for software updates, data backups, and SaaS usage resulting in congested networks, unpredictable usage patterns and security concerns about unknown data sources.

Network architects must alter Wi-Fi operations in order to ensure business-critical applications operate properly and maintain user experience. Wi-Fi solutions now require scalability and application control to manage the ever-changing requirements of the future.

No. 3 - 802.11ac Gigabit Wi-Fi  takes off

Millions of new wireless devices are activated every day. For example, when iPhone 6 and 6 plus launched in October, 4 million people preordered and 10 million purchased the first weekend, and up to 100 million more were expected to ship in the first six months. The existing install base already exceeded more than half a billion of iOS devices. On average, each person carries 2.8 wireless devices. All businesses depend on Wi-Fi access for communications and business applications including ERP, CRM, business analytics and collaboration. At the same time, mobile devices bring an array of recreational and personal applications to these same networks.

The 802.11ac Wi-Fi standard delivers much faster performance than the 802.11n standard. 11ac offers higher bandwidth and. enables new applications that were previously impractical with Wi-Fi connections, including real-time access to business information and ability to transfer larger amounts of data.

2015 calls for network infrastructure updates to address the increase of new mobile devices and the applications they run. Network architects face the challenge of supporting a variety of new connections on their Wi-Fi networks as wearable tech and IoT become more popular and pervasive In addition to supporting traditional data and application traffic, the Wi-Fi network also needs to support different services today, such as voice, video and storage. Deploying a future-proof Wi-Fi network becomes necessary to upgrade as new wireless standards, such as 802.11ac Wave 2, emerge to support the tsunami of devices in the near future.

About the Author


Bruce Miller is the VP of product marketing at Xirrus. He has been in the networking and communications industry for more than 20 years, holding positions in marketing, business development and engineering. At Xirrus, he has led product marketing, product management, customer support, and training functions at different points in time over the past five years. Before Xirrus, he held roles at Ixia, Lucent, Cabletron, NetVantage, and Plexcom covering technologies including switching, routing, wireless, storage, DSL, and cable. Additinlly, he was involved in the development of the original 802.1Q and .1p VLAN and QoS standards in the IEEE.

About Xirrus

Xirrus is the leading provider of high-performance wireless networks. Xirrus solutions perform under the most demanding circumstances, offering consistent "wired-like" performance with superior coverage and security. The Xirrus suite of Wi-Fi optimized solutions – Arrays, access points, cloud services, and wired switches – provide seamless connectivity and unified management across the network. Xirrus provides a vital strategic business and IT infrastructure advantage to industries that depend on wireless to operate business-critical applications. With tens of thousands of customer solutions deployed globally, Xirrus maintains operations and partnerships across the globe. Xirrus is a privately held company and is headquartered in Thousand Oaks, CA.


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