Meeting the Wi-Fi Demands of a Mobile-First Generation

As new mobile devices and laptops increasingly support fast 802.11ac wireless, the demand on institutions to keep up by delivering better wireless speeds and capacities has dramatically increased. The “GenMobile” workforce is pushing for greater flexibility and freedom in the way they connect, and adoption of mobile technology has hit a staggering pace. According to a 2013 survey of 5,000 people worldwide, 64% of respondents reported owning three or more connected devices. Large institutions are finding that their older 802.11n access points are struggling to support the influx of connected wireless clients, and are leaping to faster 802.11ac access points. New data from Infonetics Research reveals that nearly a quarter of all enterprise Wi-Fi uses the latest 802.11ac standard, and adoption of 802.11ac has nearly doubled every quarter.

Higher Speeds, Lower Costs

Wireless gigabit across the enterprise is here, and it’s surprisingly more cost-effective than managing wired gigabit data ports. A recent Aruba Networks report reveals that traditional wired gigabit data ports can actually be four times more expensive than a gigabit 802.11ac wireless network. Cheaper design and installation and lower overhead for increasing future network capacity play a huge role in making gigabit 802.11ac wireless networks much more cost effective than a network of gigabit data ports.

Companies and other large institutions with substantial user bases need wireless access points that can support thousands of users and devices simultaneously. Recently, Cal State Los Angeles, a university with nearly 24,500 students, upgraded their wireless infrastructure to gigabit 802.11ac access points. Their previous 802.11n network could no longer support the university’s extensive user base.

“The growing use of mobile devices on campus, specifically the introduction and fast adoption of the new generation of 802.11ac devices, and the reliance on mobile apps for both academics and collaboration, prompted us to look at upgrading to gigabit Wi-Fi,” said Peter Quan, VP and CTO at Cal State Los Angeles.

With more universities and large enterprises joining the wireless gigabit revolution each day, it’s clear that a networking sea change is underway. To learn more about how your institution can take advantage of the cost savings and speed afforded by 802.11ac, click here.