Mobility and BYOD Drives the Transformation of the Enterprise Wireless Network

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1 Mobility and BYOD Drives the Transformation of the Enterprise Wireless Network November 2012 Prepared by: Zeus Kerravala

2 Mobility and BYOD Drives the Transformation of the Enterprise Wireless Network by Zeus Kerravala Month 2012 º º º º º º º º º º º º º º º º º º º º º º º º º º º º º º º º º º º º º º º º º º º º º º º º º º º º º º º º º º º º º º º º º º º Section I: Introduction Consumerization bring your-own-device (BYOD) is the use of consumer technologies in the workplace. One of the biggest challenges for organizations today is deciding how to accommodate their use. There is urgency around corporate BYOD plans, as BYOD s momentum can no longer be stopped. A recent ZK Research survey shows that workers use, on average, four consumer technologies as part of the average workday. This includes consumer applications, mobile devices and cloud services. IT departments feel crushed as they scramble for a way to on-board consumer devices in a scalable way, while maintaining robust security and compliance to protect the worker and the organization s intellectual property. BYOD is one of the cornerstones of enterprise mobility strategy that brings us closer to the vision of the ability to access any application or content over any device, no matter where the worker is located. This is one of the primary reasons CIO attitudes have changed regarding BYOD. Although resistant at first, 82 percent of CIOs now support consumer devices to some degree (see Exhibit 1). ZK Research A Division of Kerravala Consulting Cell: Office: Exhibit 1: CIOs Are Tolerant of Consumerization What is your company's attitude on the use of consumer technologies? Do not allow any consumer devices We allow it but provide no support Consumer devices allowed with limited support Allowed with full IT support 18% 23% 20% 39% No tolerance High acceptance Influence and insight through social media In addition to the on-boarding challenge, BYOD presents the following IT challenges to technology leaders for a successful BYOD strategy: Deliver a high-quality user experience: The more users get, the more they want. A high-quality experience on mobile endpoints is a must-have to maximize worker productivity.

3 Mobility and BYOD Drives the Transformation of the Enterprise Wireless Network 3 Device explosion: The number of devices attached to the corporate network exploded over the past few years. Only a few years ago, the only network-enabled device assigned to a worker was a corporate-issued PC or laptop. Today, connected devices include e-readers, tablets, smart phones, medical devices, pointof-sale equipment, IP-enabled cameras and a plethora of others. The number of connected devices per user is about 3-1. ZK Research predicts this will reach 7-1 within five years. Organizations will be faced with over 200 percent growth in connected devices, even if employee count remains static. More multimedia-rich applications: Mediarich applications such as voice and video used to run on separate networks from data. Not so anymore. In fact, many consumer devices make it easy to conduct ad hoc video calls, creating unpredictable traffic patterns. These rich media applications make converged networks a reality for today s IT departments. More mobility and less portability: Legacy mobility meant workers carried a corporate issued laptop and preloaded it with applications and content. The worker carried this device around and updated content periodically when connected. While many considered this mobile, it really was nothing more than a portable work device. The advent of cloud and network-based resources means corporate applications and business content resides in the cloud and is accessed over any device no matter where the worker is. This is true mobility, and brings us closer to delivering any content to any device. Machine-to-machine (M2M): M2M allows machines to talk to other machines over a wired or wireless network. This is increasingly popular in verticals such as health care, oil and gas, and manufacturing where organizations want to monitor the status of specific equipment. M2M has been a market in the making for years now, but the growth of wireless connectivity combined with the availability of vertically driven solutions will create an inflection point for M2M connections. ZK Research forecasts M2M connections globally will grow from 102 million in 2012 to over 250 million in 2016 (see Exhibit 2). The growth in M2M connections will add to the complexity of running a corporate network. Exhibit 2: M2M Growth Explodes M2M Connections (Millions) BYOD-specific security: This includes device discovery, user profiling, and device authentication. This is critical to ensuring workers can use devices without putting themselves or the company at risk. Network analytics and support: BYOD can strain networks. This drives need for strong network automation tools, visibility across wired and wireless networks and troubleshooting. Cloud computing, consumerization, virtualization and network evolution puts the industry on the precipice of a new computing paradigm. This network centric model raises the value of the network, and requires a shift in network strategy.

4 Mobility and BYOD Drives the Transformation of the Enterprise Wireless Network 4 Section II: Legacy Networks Are Limited Legacy networks were architected with a wired first mentality. This made sense, since almost all devices were built with wired network interfaces. Mobile computing and BYOD has changed that, and many devices today have no wired interface. Corporate IT is rapidly changing, and legacy network strategies are no longer sufficient to support the current workforce. The following are the primary limitations of legacy network design: The wired network is the primary network: Historically, organizations built a robust wired network to connect every network device in the enterprise. A wireless network would be deployed to augment this for access in conference rooms and other public areas. The wired network would be accessible pervasively across the company, while the wireless network was available only in certain locations. Wired networks were architected for resiliency and performance: Wireless networks were designed for convenience. Since it was the secondary network, it often did not have the same level of performance and resiliency wired networks have. Independent management of wired and wireless: While this is quite common within companies even today, it can lead to problems. One of the primary challenges is keeping security and access policies consistent across wired and wireless networks. IT managers can spend hours ensuring the wireless network is secure and locked down; but if guests can simply plug into the wired network and gain access, much of the time and money spent on securing the wireless network is wasted. Inconsistent user performance: There are a couple of ways this can manifest. The most common scenario is to overbuild the wired network to ensure a high-quality, consistent user experience. However, when workers access the same resources over a wireless network, they often experience performance that is nowhere near the wired network. Today, a different problem is occurring. With so much focus on BYOD, many companies have upgraded to higher speed wireless such as n (and ac in the future). If the wired network cannot adequately handle the aggregated wireless traffic, the user will experience poor performance. Wireless is not designed for high density computing: Current-generation WLANs are shared mediums. This means it operates very much like an older network hub rather than a true LAN switch with dedicated bandwidth on a per-port basis. The reason hubs, despite the lower cost, disappeared from the corporate workplace is that as shared medium, they can t support a network larger than a few dozen users. Similarly, most legacy wireless networks cannot adequately handle areas where the density of mobile devices is high. IT is faced with an environment that is significantly different than just a few short years ago. Because of the new demands on the technology infrastructure, the industry has seen dramatic shifts in the way applications are delivered, the way compute infrastructure is deployed and the way users work. For IT to keep up, it s time for the network to transform. The area of the network that requires the most change is the wireless network, since this is the first point of contact with users. Section III: Key Considerations for a Next-Generation Wireless Network Enterprise wireless LAN technology has gone through several evolutionary phases since it first appeared in organizations a few decades ago. Firstgeneration WLAN saw technology deployed in an ad hoc manner for users who either absolutely needed the technology or brought in home end-points, creating small islands of wireless connectivity (see Exhibit 3). Second-generation WLAN saw companies standardize on fat access points (APs) deployed in shared areas such as conference rooms, lobbies and a few other high-traffic locations in the company, augmenting the wired network. The current third-generation WLAN implementation allows the technology to be deployed enterprisewide as an overlay to the wired network through controllers and thin APs.

5 Mobility and BYOD Drives the Transformation of the Enterprise Wireless Network 5 Exhibit 3: Wireless LAN Evolution 2 nd -Generation WLAN Enterprise standardization of fat apps Department optimized Hundreds of devices 4 th -Generation WLAN Primary network connectivity User-experience optimized 100K+ devices 3 rd -Generation WLAN Wireless overlay Coverage optimized 10K+ devices 1 st -Generation WLAN Ad hoc deployment Nonoptimized Tens of devices Devices supported A fourth-generation wireless LAN solution is needed to usher in the BYOD-led mobile computing era. User experience must be at the heart of the nextgeneration WLAN, and the technology must provide a consistent, predictable, and secure experience for any device or application. The wired network is the primary access network, and is no longer used to augment the wired network. This drives the need for fourth-generation wireless LAN. Exhibit 4, below, is from a recent ZK Research study and shows that the majority of users today treat the wireless network as their primary network. Exhibit 4: Workers Who Use Wireless as Primary Connectivity 21% 17% 11% 13% 38% 35% 22% 10% 8% 25% 53% 26% 9% 7% 5% Two Years Ago Today Two Years from Now Percentage of workers using WLAN % 61-80% 41-60% 21-40% 0-20%

6 Mobility and BYOD Drives the Transformation of the Enterprise Wireless Network 6 However, building a fourth-generation wireless network requires a change in strategy. The following are key items IT leaders must consider: A robust, high-performing wired core: Despite the pervasiveness of wireless, the wired network certainly isn t dead. In fact, all of a company s wireless traffic will eventually pass over a wired core. Investing in wireless without investing in wired will lead to failure. The wireless network must take on wire-like attributes: Wireless networks were deployed for convenience; wired networks for performance and reliability. If the wireless network is to be the primary network, it must inherit many attributes of a wired network. This includes features such as fast fail over, resiliency features and ability to optimize applications for high bandwidth or latency. Strong integrated security: In a consumerized, mobile world, security is critical. Not enough security can put the business at risk. However, too much security can impair a worker s ability to function. Integrated security allows users to access the information they need to no matter where in the organization they are. The network must be able to encrypt data for protection, authenticate users to validate credentials and have wireless IPS and IDS to eliminate threats. Additionally, the network must enable comprehensive data collection for forensics and compliance. It s important that security protection be integrated at the RF level as well as the network level. Intelligent networks for application optimization: The use of multimedia applications such as voice and video over a wireless network used to be very rare. However, because of improvements in devices and software interfaces, this is now something users expect to be able to do. Having the capability to automatically detect and prioritize applications is a critical function for nextgeneration wireless networks. This drives the need for centralized policy where decisions can be made based on granular user and device profiling such as device type, application, location, time of day, or device health. BYOD-specific support: BYOD use will only increase over the next several years. This means wireless networks should have BYODrelated features integrated into it. This includes things such as discovery, profiling and authentication through a guest portal and support for Apple s Bonjour protocol. The usage of both virtual and physical controllers: The rise of virtualization has led to the development of virtual appliances. In wireless networks this means virtualizing the controller functionality. However, while the virtual appliance can provide tremendous flexibility, there is still a valid role for physical appliances. Organizations should look to leverage the relative strengths of virtual and physical appliances in a deployment. Support for highly dense environments: The influx of consumer devices means the WLAN must support highly dense environments with no degradation in quality. Strong visibility and analytics tools: As the network continues to evolve, it s important that network managers know their network. This means understanding what applications are running on the network, what traffic patterns are like and what baseline traffic is. It s also important that security policies be consistent across the wired and wireless infrastructure. This requires a robust management tool that unifies wired and wireless networks as well as security and management functions. High-quality air control: Air interference issues cause many wireless network problems. The wireless infrastructure must be able to recognize and automatically correct air issues with spectrum analysis and RF control. The more automated RF management is, the more successful the deployment will be. Additionally, advanced security capabilities such as wireless intrusion detection/prevention, spectrum fingerprinting and in-service and out-of-band scanning can also help keep air quality high. Rapid extensibility of the wired and wireless network: Building a network for today does not necessarily mean the network will be rightsized in the future. Companies should expect rapid growth of not only wireless end points but wired devices making it critical to have a network that can rapidly expand through a simplified management interface, minimizing risk to the organization. Wired and wireless integration: While much of the focus of the access edge is on the wireless network, IT leaders should ensure there is a rock solid, wired network to support the wireless edge. An integrated wired and wireless network ensures a consistent, secure experience no matter how the worker connects.

7 Mobility and BYOD Drives the Transformation of the Enterprise Wireless Network 7 Section IV: The Business Benefits of a Next-Generation Wireless Network Benefits to the worker: The network has long been considered the plumbing of a company, with little thought to its business benefits. When applications, compute infrastructure and networks were deployed in silos, the benefits were difficult to understand. However, modern computing paradigms such as cloud and mobile computing are network-centric, so the network has a significant, well-understood impact on the business. A strategic approach to building a wireless network can deliver multifaceted benefits. The network can provide benefits to the worker, the IT department and the business, providing ROI to save money and raise productivity a rare feat. Below are the main benefits to each of these constituents. Consistent user experience for business applications: A consistent user experience is critical to productivity. Erratic performance can cause user frustration and may cause the user to avoid the application. In some cases, the worker may seek out consumer versions of the application, creating risk for the company. Enables the worker to be truly mobile and not just portable: There is a drastic difference between being portable and mobile (see Exhibit 5). A robust wireless edge can bring us closer to the vision of true mobility any content to any device, no matter where the user is. Exhibit 5: Portability Shifts to True Mobility Characteristic Portability True Mobility Experience Ad hoc Pervasive Network High-performance core High-performance edge and core Applications Static and siloed Mobile, cloud, virtual and premise Device ownership IT IT and worker Connectivity Intermittent Ubiquitous Ultimate device freedom: With this network strategy users can choose the device they wish to use. It can be a personal or corporate device, and the user can switch between them. Performance for VoIP and video over wireless: Historically workers could use some applications when mobile, but only those that did not consume large amounts of bandwidth. With a robust wireless edge, workers do not need to consider the network before deciding whether to use an application. Multimedia applications such a VoIP and video perform the same on a wireless network, and maintain performance as time goes on. Secures the user: While much of the security focus with mobility is at the corporate level, users have large amounts of personal data on their own devices. A secure network can help protect business and personal data. It just works: Users do not care about the technical challenges of getting certain devices to work in different scenarios. Often, to get functions to perform properly, the user is the integration point for the technology and must understand what application they can use over what network and under which conditions. The user needs an experience where things just work, with no consideration given to how things connect and what network the worker is on. IT benefits: Simplified management: Legacy networks often had independent management functions for wired and wireless networks. This meant security policies, network settings and configuration parameters were done at least twice once for wired and once for wireless. This can lead to inconsistent features and services and business risk from security holes. Aligns with CIO priorities: Two top CIO priorities are reducing IT cost and responding to business requests faster. An agile application and compute environment without an agile network significantly impedes this CIO vision. An agile, flexible wireless network is a necessary component of any CIO strategy.

8 Mobility and BYOD Drives the Transformation of the Enterprise Wireless Network 8 Future-proofed network: Maintaining and changing legacy networks is often associated with network downtime sometimes planned, but also unplanned. A robust, flexible wireless edge allows for no disruption to the network infrastructure when making moves, adds and changes for users or devices. Reduction in help desk calls: Users call the help desk when applications don t work or perform poorly. A recent ZK Research study revealed workers estimate they lose 14 percent productivity from poor application performance. A more consistent, high-quality user experience can significantly cut down on help desk calls and free IT up for strategic initiatives. Support for BYOD: BYOD is a reality and there s no turning back. A pessimistic IT culture may see BYOD as a loss of control. However, by strategically shifting security and management control points away from the device to the network enables IT to allow BYOD but maintain control of the environment. Analytics of the network: Network visibility and analytics are critical to helping IT to know the network. Understanding network flows, traffic patterns and changes away from the baseline can help IT be more predictive and proactive in supporting the business. Consistent security across both the wired and wireless network: Security is one of the most important elements to successful BYOD strategy. However, security as an overlay can lead to challenges in creating consistent security at all points in the network. Security integrated into the wired and wireless network delivers a highly consistent environment. Benefits to the business: Meet and maintain compliance: Many IT organizations are overwhelmed with compliance requirements. This is partially due to the fact that there are so many manual processes for network administration. An automated, consistent network can help companies meet and maintain even the most strict compliance requirements. IT can be a differentiator for employee retention and recruitment: Workers want to work at a company that allows them to be as productive as possible. Most workers believe consumer technologies make them more productive. Organizations can use a high quality, well-supported BYOD plan to retain and attract talent. Section V: Conclusion and Recommendations The BYOD wave is rapidly ushering in the mobile computing era. While much of the industry has focused on issues such as on-boarding devices and mobile device management, these are not the only factors to consider when it comes to a successful BYOD strategy. The current-generation mobile worker demands a high performance, quality, robust, secure experience all the time. Workers depend on it to perform their jobs and when it s not delivered, productivity falls, costing the company opportunity and profits. Delivering on the vision of BYOD requires a robust wireless network: Successful BYOD depends on a unified wired and wireless network, and RF management that includes scanning, fingerprinting and radio management. Equally important is unified management for visibility and analytics. Mitigates risk of consumer devices: Allowing consumer devices into the workplace can be a frightening proposition for business leaders. One mistake can become a public relations nightmare and open the door to lawsuits. Leveraging a secure wireless network can mitigate many of these risks and protect the entire organization. Predictable cost: IT planning can be difficult when costs are inconsistent. Legacy networks involve manual processes for changes or updates, which means more human error. A robust, next-generation wired and wireless LAN network is an absolute must in this era of IT making the choice of solution providers critical. Evaluators of wireless technology should not make a decision based solely on vendor incumbency or brand name. Instead look for a solution provider that has built an enterprise wireless solution specifically designed for this era of IT. The identifi wireless portfolio from Enterasys Networks is a great example of a WLAN solution that has been architected specifically for a highly mobile, consumerized enterprise. After reviewing the Enterasys identifi WLAN solution, it is my opinion that it fully supports the requirements of the nextgeneration network. : A Division of Kerravala Consulting All rights reserved. Reproduction or redistribution in any form without the express prior permission of ZK Research is expressly prohibited. For questions, comments or further information,

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