Wingspan

The New iPad: Crunch Time for the Network?

by John.McHugh on ‎03-08-2012 10:05 AM (219 Views)

There are a couple of big launches this week. We’re doing our part with “The Effortless Network,” a vision for the campus network that offers the scalability to accommodate IT imperatives and emerging applications — such as Bring-Your-Own-Device (BYOD), rich video and VDI — for years to come.

And speaking of BYOD, Apple is out with the newest version of the iPad.

Since our release is specifically designed to manage change, we thought we’d use the opportunity to ask IT decision makers how well they’re prepared to handle changes enabled by Apple’s release. Do they expect corporate network traffic to be affected by the new iPad, and is their network ready for that?

They do, and it’s not.

You’ll find more in the survey results here, but let’s point out right away that fully a third (33%) of the 120-odd IT professionals surveyed said they expect traffic to increase with the advent of the new iPad. Another 17% are not sure, but “expect it will be difficult to manage.”

And since industry reports already suggest that mobile data traffic will grow exponentially in the coming years, is the network ready for the impact of mobile devices on corporate network bandwidth? Emphatically, no: A staggering 76% say they are concerned about this development.

Promisingly, more than half the respondents say that since 2009 they’ve made investments in the campus network specifically to address tablet and smartphone access. This also means nearly half haven’t. It may be even more disconcerting that 38% don’t plan any further investments, although 56% are strategically replacing parts of the network to deal with the influx.

The reality is that mobile access and the resulting productivity represent a fundamental transition in business practices. Our survey captures this sea change perfectly: Asked whether their company has an official “Bring-Your-Own-Device” policy,  or whether employee devices access the network regardless of policy, or if only company-issued devices are allowed to access the network, the respondents split their answer three ways closely: 31%, 38% and 31% respectively. A year from now, expect that No. 1 option—officially BYOD—to dominate the results.

It’s not as if the entire campus network is always going to need a forklift upgrade—changes should always be selective and strategic.   To toot our own horn for a minute, this is where HyperEdge™, the technology on which the Effortless Network is built, plays such a key role. Its single-point management functionality enables IT to manage the entire access switching layer as if it were a single device, while mix-and-match stacking lets users add switches in a cost-effective way that best fits their evolving needs. With HyperEdge, IT managers can prepare their campus LANs for the mobile device deluge and other developments without having to replace their entire network. It’s a can’t-lose proposition.

The new iPad is just the tip of the iceberg—network preparedness is a prime concern right now because enterprises are going through a transformation, brought on by everything from mobile access to video. Let’s hope that by the time the next iPad and other innovative products are rolled out, technologies like HyperEdge will make the inevitable traffic increase a non-issue.