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How #GenMobile is spurring the wireless workplace

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In a study of the workplace’s younger generation, The Intelligence Group found that around three quarters of millennials – those born between 1980 to around 2000 – are demanding flexibility at work. The IT department has to respond to this, and it appears that the technology community has done so by giving millennials a more descriptive name: ‘#GenMobile’. Our partner, Aruba Networks found that 63% of #GenMobile think that their personal devices help them manage their lives better, and so the smartphone is guaranteed to continue to play a big part in the future of the workplace.

And it’s not just millennials who value the smartphone for work purposes. 83% of all employees feel that mobile technology improves their workflow, according to a survey by The Economist Intelligence Unit. The IT department is therefore faced with the pressure of supporting employees’ natural ways of working. Implementing a wireless LAN is one way to allow employees to untether, and while wireless may have long been part of your IT environment, the need to bolster your network to support facilities such as BYOD is increasingly important. Employees expect and require a constant connection to their corporate network to perform their day-to-day tasks, and this is especially the case for organisations embracing unified communications (UC). Integrating a number of communication services, such as instant messaging and IP telephony, onto a single device means that employees require a smooth transition from one device or comms tool to another. As a result, employees require not only a strong connection from a wireless LAN but it must be consistent too.

It’s reassuring that many of our customers have caught up with the needs of #GenMobile, and implemented rigorous wireless LANs that can support mobility. At the Ministry of Defence, for example, we installed 25 kilometres of optical fibre and over 500 wireless access points at its Defence Academy. Students and staff are now able to access online content whenever required, and with 90% coverage across the site, finding a spot with a strong connection is easy. And the benefits of an agile wireless LAN aren’t exclusive to mobile. An optimised network can prioritise traffic, sending more sensitive data over private links, and lower priority items over public connections. Employees can enjoy a quicker and more reliable connection whatever device they’re on. The future won’t see a generation in the workforce using mobile every day for work purposes; it will see employees of all ages do so, which organisations can only truly embrace with a strong wireless LAN.

Whatever sector you’re in, security should be a priority when developing a wireless LAN, particularly when mobility has driven you to it. Along with the increasing number of mobiles accessing a corporate network come more end-points for hackers to attack. Working with your MSP to develop stringent authentication processes is key to ensuring that your network is protected from hackers. But ensure that security and legal compliance doesn’t compromise end-user experience, and that employees can still access resources without excessive effort; an effective MSP will find a solution to incorporate the two.

Your wireless LAN can only be as strong as the managed service provider (MSP) you choose to maintain it. It’s key to establish a close relationship with an MSP to ensure that it takes into account the wireless environment that you work within. This will enable it to factor in the amount of network users you have, what applications they use, and what their needs are. There may be some physical constraints within your environment too, and an MSP can help mitigate this to optimise performance.

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