One of the things we constantly hear complaints about in Ireland, is the lack of country-wide, high speed and reliable broadband infrastructure. Google’s chairman, Eric Schmidt, even commented on the poor state of Ireland’s broadband infrastructure in the last couple of days and how it could affect economic growth.
But while we are quick to criticise the country’s broadband, have you looked at your own in-house network lately and how ready is your network infrastructure to handle all the new wireless devices and associated volumes of traffic that are coming down the line in the next couple of years?
I recently worked with two educational organisations who wanted to create wireless networks to support the many and growing number of wireless devices being used in the education sector.
The first organisation have installed standard wireless access points which have to be managed separately and require each wireless device to be registered with each and every access point. There is no facility to segregate traffic for security of performance reasons.
The second organisation have installed a much more comprehensive meshed wireless network that will allow devices to register with the network as a whole rather than with each access point individually. They also have the ability to segregate wireless traffic by groupings such as Staff, Students, Guests, voice, video, etc. They will also have the ability to replace/upgrade individual access points without requiring devices to re-register on the network.
As the volumes of traffic grow on wireless networks, the time and expertise required to manage and maintain the first wireless network will grow dramatically, locking them into support contracts with recurring costs and frequent hardware upgrades.
The second organisation should be able to manage their own wireless network. They will have to upgrade the hardware much less frequently and when they to have to upgrade they will be able to do it on a phased basis.
While the second organisation paid twice as much for the initial wireless network, the life-time costs (taking into account, initial purchase, service/support, maintenance and upgrades) for the second organisation will be less than 50% of the first organisation.
As a friend of mine in the construction sector said when we were talking about this issue. “It’s like building two houses, one with no insulation and one with full insulation. The house with no insulation will be 25% less to build but will be 200% more to run and maintain on an annual basis”.