Steve Jobs introduced the iPad 2 yesterday in San Francisco, showing off its slimmer design, faster processors, cameras on both sides for video conferencing and what looks to be a really interesting Smart Cover, that I hope works with my existing iPad (but probably won't).
The other interesting news is that both Verizon and AT&T will offer 3G versions at the official launch date of March 11. This will translate into more wireless traffic on the providers' networks and within enterprise organizations just like mine and yours. Hot products, like the iPad 2 and Androids, have gone from the consumer space and are now becoming the enterprise portals of choice. This is fueling the need for IT departments to deploy wireless not as merely an overlay network but increasingly as a mission-critical network.
These consumer devices, theorized as thin clients back in the 1990s, are great lightweight personal terminals, but users now want everything brought together in one place. However, because of the devices' lightweight form factor (they literally don't have the physical ports in most cases), they simply can't be connected into the traditional wired network.
This is creating a mandate for high-quality wireless networks that can run mission-critical enterprise applications.
So with modest increases in IT budget in mind, the question becomes: How do IT departments support this influx of devices? The good news is that the industry is already in the midst of a technology roll cycle. While the past 10 years have been all about 802.11a, b and g networks with best-effort, ad-hoc network overlays, that approach is no longer applicable for the applications and demands of today.
Enter the 802.11n wireless standard. New solutions built on this protocol will provide the performance required to create a robust network that can be deployed in a much more disciplined and predictable manner. With Brocade solutions this will also mean greater levels of resilience and dependable connections.
With wired networks you are effectively dead in the water if there is a port freeze on the wiring closet switch. Your whole department is at zero productivity until someone finds and fixes the problem. With the Brocade Mobility family of wireless solutions you can take advantage of seamless roaming to provide a much more predictable user experience. Now wireless networks can provide both high performance and continuous connectivity, something that is difficult to achieve with your existing wired infrastructure.
Thanks to innovators like Apple, the next technology refresh is never far away. Most existing network infrastructure has worn out its capital cycle and needs to be upgraded. But when you're looking at a refresh, it is critical to shop around and find the right wireless solution that is thoughtfully engineered, just like my beloved iPad.