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11/1/2007
02:27 PM
Eric Ogren
Eric Ogren
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More Enterprises Adopting Wireless Broadband, But Wi-Fi Still Leads 3G And WiMax Plans

Wi-Fi is the wireless workhorse that has become the go-to solution for freeing enterprise workers from their desks. Fully 73% of all businesses in North America will adopt Wi-Fi by 2011, with only 17% connecting with 3G and 11% connecting with WiMax.

Wi-Fi is the wireless workhorse that has become the go-to solution for freeing enterprise workers from their desks. Fully 73% of all businesses in North America will adopt Wi-Fi by 2011, with only 17% connecting with 3G and 11% connecting with WiMax.Infonetics Research reveals this and other details in its latest study about what wireless technologies enterprises plan to use in the coming years. Wi-Fi will remain the wireless king. Not only will nearly three-quarters of businesses be using it, 11% will be employing meshed Wi-Fi networks.

Along with Wi-Fi, laptops will continue to be the top device with which people connect to the Internet wirelessly. It doesn't look like smartphones will catch up any time soon, though there is growth in the use of dual-mode handsets that can use VoIP systems via Wi-Fi (doubles from 12% in 2007 to 25% by 2009).

Enterprises also are doing a more thorough job of managing how their employees use wireless technology. According to Infonetics, "Forty-nine percent have a policy defining how employees use WLAN, WiMax, or 2.5G/3G data services; security and personal usage top the list of criteria defined by such policies."

The data doesn't go into the reasons why Wi-Fi will continue to be more popular than 3G or WiMax, but the answer has to be cost related. On-campus Wi-Fi networks are relatively cheap to operate when broken down by user and compared with monthly access fees for 3G wireless broadband (which average $60 per month). If and when users need to access the Internet wirelessly out of the office, Wi-Fi aggregators can help keep monthly fees to a minimum while expanding the number of locations available.

Enterprises are definitely seeing the wireless light. Says Richard Webb, wireless analyst at Infonetics Research, "Mobility is increasingly viewed by user organizations as a fundamental part of their communications strategy and the wireless networks or services they use are an intrinsic part of the overall network. Wireless is no longer seen as a separate overlaid and unmanaged wild frontier."

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