The transformation of the access network is in full swing, buoyed by fundamental changes in how people work, the devices they use and the adoption of new business processes centered around mobility and digital information, according to a study released by business information provider IHS Markit (Nasdaq: INFO).
Enterprises polled for the IHS Markit study, entitled WLAN Strategies and Vendor Leadership North American Enterprise Survey, expect that nearly half their employees will use Wi-Fi exclusively to access company networks by 2020.
“Businesses are transforming their workplaces into environments that are flexible and enable employee mobility,” said Matthias Machowinski, senior research director for enterprise networks at IHS Markit. “A key foundational element of these new workplaces is ubiquitous network connectivity. Companies are investing heavily in Wi-Fi so that employees can communicate and access information from anywhere to deliver a better experience for their customers.”
Security is a major concern for companies, as hacking has evolved into a multi-billion-dollar industry. When asked what changes they plan to make to their wireless local area network (WLAN) over the next 12 months, survey respondents ranked security as the number one change by a wide margin and the top reason to invest in new infrastructure. “Security breaches are not some obscure event - they affect millions of people,” Machowinski said. “Almost every week brings news of another major cybersecurity breach, and networks are a security concern because they could potentially give hackers access to sensitive information.”
Additional highlights from the survey:
Tablets are the number one type of device new to the network over the next year, followed closely by phones, primarily mobile; over a quarter of respondents plan to connect Internet of Things (IoT) devices to the network;
Cloud apps have become the number three Wi-Fi traffic contributor, driven by new IT architectures and adoption of public cloud services and devices that rely on cloud connectivity for full functionality;
Seventy-seven percent of new access point deployments will be based on the forthcoming 802.11ax standard;
Cisco is perceived as the top WLAN manufacturer, followed by Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE)/Aruba, which has made significant strides since its acquisition of Aruba.
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