By now, it is clear to many organizations that a successful BYOD implementation involves more than just ditching the company Blackberries and making the BYOD initiative known. A secure and successful BYOD implementation involves more than just MDM, however. For many companies, wireless infrastructure upgrades are key to BYOD success. It's up to VARs to show their companies why.
Luckily for resellers, the "why" of wireless infrastructure upgrades' importance to BYOD is very simple. It boils down to simple demand for connectivity, which BYOD tends to dramatically increase.
Think about it this way: In the pre-BYOD era, employees typically had a desk phone and either a laptop or desktop computer, all of which were typically tethered to the wired network. Employees might also have had a corporate-issued mobile phone, but even in the case of smartphones, employees didn't have to worry about data usage or cost. Those expenses belonged to the organization, so employees could simply leave the phones on their original settings.
BYOD introduces a far greater strain to the wireless network. While in the office, employees will most likely connect at least one device to the corporate wireless network, whether that device be a laptop or tablet. In many cases, employees may connect multiple devices: the laptop and the tablet, for instance. And when it comes to their smartphones, the high cost of data on mobile carrier networks means that the savvier employees will also switch their smartphones over to Wi-Fi wherever they can, including (perhaps especially) while at the office.
So they want to connect multiple devices to the wireless network. Most likely, they're not doing that just to check their emails once in a while. Instead, they may be participating in video calls on their tablets while working on their laptops and keeping an eye on the big game via their smartphones. Their activities probably require fast, reliable connectivity and plenty of bandwidth.
Unfortunately, not every organization's wireless network is built to handle such demands. Large numbers of businesses treat wireless connectivity as an afterthought, either as a guest amenity or a simple add-on that was never thought of as business-critical. With the advent of BYOD, however, wireless connectivity—meaning wireless infrastructure upgrades—is indeed business-critical.
So what does this mean for companies and the VARs that advise them?
For one thing, a wireless network thrown together with consumer-grade or low-end enterprise wireless equipment won't do. Many consumer-grade access points (APs) come with extremely limited connectivity, for example: some won't allow more than four or six devices to connect at one time. If you consider how many employees are in an office and how many devices each employee might bring every day, you begin to see how untenable cheap APs are, and how important wireless infrastructure upgrades may be.
Wireless infrastructure upgrades may also be vital for security in a BYOD environment. Certain parts of the network may need to be segregated from other, for example the guest access network from the corporate network. Consumer-grade and low-end wireless access points and other wireless networking infrastructure components may not come with enough configurability or management options to make this possible.
And all of this is simply scratching the surface of the reasons why wireless infrastructure upgrades are often key components in BYOD rollouts. What other factors can you think of that might make wireless infrastructure upgrades necessary to BYOD? Tell us what you come up with in the comments.