There is no doubt that integrating an employee's personal computing devices, items such as cell phones, BlackBerries, tablet computers, and laptops, with a business network can greatly enhance worker efficiency, allowing them to do more in less time. It can also increase employees' ability to progress through workflow when they are out of the office, whether they are at home for the evening or out of the country on a business trip. Unfortunately, the proliferation of handheld devices is placing a great strain on the Wi-Fi networks that businesses maintain to support their workflow.
Not so very long ago, businesses could plan a network infrastructure by assuming that each user would generally have one and only one device. Now, however, the business world has moved into the ‘BYOD’ era, an acronym that refers to workers' willingness to ‘bring your own device’. As more employees adopt this method of working, sometime on their own, sometimes at their employer's behest, Wi-Fi networks are struggling to keep up. Each Wi-Fi hotspot can generally support up to 15 or even 20 devices. When demand outstrips that level, the signal strength will begin to weaken, a circumstance that negatively impacts not just the new devices that have joined on, but all current users of the connection.
Industry analysts predict that the problem will soon become endemic, with four-fifths of Wi-Fi networks that have recently come online becoming obsolete as soon as 2015. In most cases, the culprit is poor planning for future expansion.
Businesses can construct Wi-Fi networks meant to last with the help of IT consulting firms who can guide them through a realistic assessment of their needs and the IT solutions that can meet them.