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This content is part of the Essential Guide: Enterprise wireless networking: The Wi-Fi takeover
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Will Gigabit Wi-Fi improve mobile workforce management?

Nemertes Research director Irwin Lazar says the cost of upgrading to 802.11ac is not recommended for all organizations looking to improve mobility.

Mobile workforce management is becoming increasingly complex. Enterprise mobility is rapidly increasing and IT professionals are looking for ways to reduce spending on operational expenditure (Opex) and capital expenditure (Capex) and still continue growing their mobile workforce. Nemertes Research director Irwin Lazar says that mobility in the workplace is more than employees using tablets, smartphones and laptops in huddle rooms, open areas or in the cafeteria. It's about the freedom to use any device, anywhere; a freedom employees now expect. With all of these new outlets for mobility, how are these connections best supported? When it comes to performance and cost management, the introduction of 802.11ac might be a practical option for some organizations. With data rates of up to 400 Mbps the new Gigabit Wi-Fi standard creates a new option for wired replacement.

But can wireless replace wired Ethernet in your organization? Lazar says it depends. If you are thinking of switching from wired to wireless there are key questions you need to ask.

First of all, it is important to see if the service justifies the cost of upgrading. When you upgrade to 802.11ac, you have to consider that your access points as well asback-end infrastructure will also need to be upgraded. Once you have updated to gigabit Wi-Fi, does it reach everyone at your company or are there gaps in the connection? If so, how much will it cost to fix those gaps? In the end, will your company be saving any money?

These are just come of the questions Lazar says you need to ask before switching to a completely wireless network. Listen to this podcast to learn more.

This was last published in December 2014

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Giving employees freedom to use devices in workplaces is risky. But if Gigabit Wi-Fi justifies your upgrade costs and needs, it's worth upgrading your infrastructure.