Tablets to put pressure on networks in 2011: Ovum, Gartner

IT managers to reasses security, re-architecture wireless networks

The growing popularity of tablet PCs in the enterprise is producing a noticable increase in wireless networking adoption, according to analysts.

Ovum’s Tim Renowden and Nicole McCormick have noted the increased usage of iPads and other tablet devices is putting pressure on IT managers to look at deploying technologies which provide faster wireless networking speeds.

“I think it's fair to say that increasing use of PCs and data-hungry tablets on wireless networks will cause a massive boost in network traffic, driving investment in next-generation wireless access technologies like HSPA+ and LTE,” Renowden said.

McCormick said pressure to increase data flow rates would ultimately fall on IT managers.

“Employee demand for tablets will make life more difficult for some IT managers,” she said.

“For example, let’s say an employee adds a tablet to its laptop for work purposes. Managing this scenario will be more difficult for an IT manager especially if all files are stored on these device’s local hard drives. In turn, this will likely push IT managers to establishing some sort of centralized content management system, such as an internal data base or outside Cloud site.”

Renowden agreed, stating the popularity of tablets would force the issue of mobile device management on IT managers.

"Provisioning and managing tablets is a similar process to managing a fleet of smartphones -- one major issue is the complexity that arises when employees demand their own preferred model.”

Gartner’s principal research analyst, Bjarne Munch, said the increased demand for wireless networks would result in IT managers taking a second look at their security measures.

“New devices, such as the iPad, are being pushed into the enterprise placing pressure on especially security solutions which must be deployed on these new devices,” Munch said.

“These devices are emerging as new all integrated communications devices supporting voice, video and email/instant messenger. This is effectively just another driver for the all-wireless office.”

As well as this, Munch conceded that the security pressures associated with tablet devices may result in 2011 being a year of network re-architecture for IT managers.

“This will not only require that these wireless solutions can support voice and video but it also means that the enterprise needs to consider how to redesign their office network for a tighter integration of WLAN with wired LAN,” he said.

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