How to Manage the Perfect BYOD Roll-Out

By Gareth Green, General Manager, Aerohive Networks

For some people the recent launch of the new iPhone 6 and the (slightly) surprising reveal of the new Apple Watch was cause for celebration and an opportunity to embrace the next evolution of Apple technology.

For others, the iPhone 6 and Apple Watch represent just another challenge in the perennial battle to manage the influx of multiple user devices (end points) and corporate networks.  

IT managers within enterprises are faced with having to ensure the security and integrity of their corporate resources and data. But at the same time they need to allow multiple users, including guests and employees, the flexibility they demand for using different devices, whether corporate-issued or part of the BYOD trend.

READ MORE: Three Tips from Vodafone on Creating a BYOx Workplace

The real drain on IT resources however, is what to do with them once they are on the network. The perfect BYOD roll-out needs to simplify the process of enabling the visibility and control required to tackle mobility management. There are a number of key considerations which any IT manager responsible for BYOD roll-out should consider.

1. Enterprise-class access to all devices - It is critical to be able to scale efficiently, secure effectively, and deliver enterprise-class access to all devices, even consumer grade. Establishing how best to securely connect and monitor managed and unmanaged devices should be one of the very first requirements for a network administrator.

2. Deploy a truly service-aware network solution - Once you have created an environment where all users are seamlessly connected to a network that is working at full performance, the next challenge is how to manage usage on the network.

Enabling BYOD and especially company-issued consumer devices means users will want to actually use their device to connect and interact with network resources and services.

This could mean any number of devices, and thereby usage, scaling up and down at any time with users connecting devices and interacting with network resources and services such as printing and projecting. This requires a truly service-aware network solution that can manage such fluxes in activity.

3. Know you spectrum limitations - It is important to consider that many consumer devices used for BYOD are limited to supporting the 2.4GHz Wi-Fi spectrum. Therefore, enterprises need to consider the high-density deployments and troubleshooting issues that might arise from an environment, where the majority of the devices are competing for airtime. 

Limited by channel capacity and general over-use, the 2.4GHz will not be moving towards gigabit Wi-Fi. Since many of the devices on the market still support only this band, it’s important that enterprises have the adequate functionality to deal with the ever-expanding load on this struggling spectrum.

4. Brace yourself for the Wear Your Own Device (WYOD) trend - Again, referring back to the Apple Watch launch, it’s clear that wearable devices are on the cusp of widespread adoption. Following in the trend of mobile phones, then tablets, the number of connected devices which people own and then bring onto the Wi-Fi network is expanding.

According to a study by Accuity, smartwatches are set to be the second most popular wearable device (after wearable fitness devices), with 5 per cent of consumers planning to purchase one in the next year for a total of 8 per cent adoption by the end of 2015.

This will rise to 25 per cent owning one in the next five years. Other wearable technology, such as Google Glass, may have made little mainstream impact so far, but as prices for leading-edge technologies reduce, adoption will rise. IDC anticipates that the cost of Google Glass will fall to around £160 by 2018. WYOD will become commonplace.

Whilst an administrator can’t really limit which devices users might bring into the workplace, they can prepare themselves and endeavour to future-proof their Wi-Fi and mobile device management strategy.

The lesson we’ve all learned in the last four years is that mobile will continue to evolve and adapt and while we are delivering better results, more productive user experiences and adding to the bottom line, when it comes to infrastructure there are still areas that need to be addressed.

Written by Gareth Green, General Manager, Aerohive Networks


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