Create Confidence in Your Connections
It is a mobile world. People everywhere already depend on robust wireless access for their devices no matter where they are: at home (especially when they work or learn from home), at a workplace, at school, in stores, or at play.
It happened quickly, but mobile and wireless devices are ingrained in modern life and they extend far beyond smartphones and tablets. Wearables, entertainment consoles, kiosks, and a plethora of IoT sensors for healthcare, agriculture, logistics, manufacturing, transportation, education, science and more will make life easier – but voice and data traffic management much, much more complicated. Establishments that don’t maintain their wireless infrastructure to meet explosive demand risk falling far behind…fast.
Solutions for Workforce Mobility and Wireless Infrastructure
Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax) and 5G are complementary technologies promising to do away with latency and performance issues arising from density, device diversity, and the increasing sophistication of apps. Wi-Fi 6, which will remain the access standard of choice for most enterprise indoor networks, lets multiple devices with varying bandwidth needs transmit packets in parallel, effectively unclogging a data superhighway. Unlike Wi-Fi 5 (802.11ac), devices no longer compete when sending or receiving data.
Meanwhile, 5G — which suits access requirements for users on the move outdoors — offers higher peak data speeds, ultra-low latency, massive network capacity and super reliability over its 4G LTE predecessor. Together, Wi-Fi 6 and 5G technologies will work together, seamlessly optimizing user experiences across both network types.
Due to this, superior wireless infrastructure performance across the enterprise has become a business-critical requirement. In order to attract and retain customers, companies need to offer fast, responsive Wi-Fi and an amazing experience. For employees, the same applies. And, to accommodate the growing number of mobile and IoT devices, improvements to the efficiency of a wireless network – and how it handles congestion and ever-increasing capacity demands has become a key factor of success.
Structured helps IT build a secure foundation for effective workforce mobility. We excel in designing architectures and building policies that permit secure, seamless device on-boarding and user access to authorized resources, apps and data – from anywhere.
Access Point (AP)
It begins with an access point (AP). Whether indoors or out, APs use radio frequency (RF) signals to deliver high performance connectivity to devices like smartphones, beacons, or IoT sensors. Modern APs built for Wi-Fi 6 boost network performance 4x over those built for the Wi-Fi 5 standard. They rely on AI to optimize RF for superior traffic prioritization while their “always-on” functionality makes patching, management, security and visibility much easier for IT.
Modern APs are perfect for purpose-built, future-forward, and secure networking. They support Zero Trust policy enforcement at the edge, including VPNs, encryption, packet inspection and dynamic segmentation. They even help reduce energy consumption with smart power management.
Remote Access Point (RAP)
Today, with remote work and learning at an all-time high, remote access points (RAPs) provide a critical lifeline for end-users to continue operating efficiently and securely from their homes. Designed for plug-and-play deployments (which means zero-touch provisioning for IT staff), RAPs support wireless or wired connectivity for equipment like laptops and VoIP phones. They effectively and securely extend the at-work or at-school experience to any remote location with an internet or cellular connection.
Controllers, which are offered as hardware or virtual appliances, are the centralized brain of the WLAN, directing APs in how to permit client access, route and optimize traffic. The best systems rely on AI- and ML-driven management software that can automatically identify and heal network and connectivity problems before end users are impacted. Controllers also dramatically simplify AP configuration, deployment, and management for IT. Managed by powerful software designed to maximize uptime, security and visibility, controllers also are the key to extending granular, role-based security policies and enforcement across the enterprise.
Network Access Control & Policy Enforcement
In a wireless enterprise, as in a wired one, access control and policy enforcement mean the difference between security and breach. Network and security managers must always have deep visibility into, and a clear understanding of, which devices are trying to access the network (and from where), the unique details of that device, and the information they are trying to access.
Network access control and management solutions built on Zero Trust frameworks give IT a simple way to provision access and apply security policies for users and devices, regardless of location, need or role. This ability is more important than ever now that it is clear a distributed workforce will continue to be the norm for a very long time.
Before the pandemic, IT leaders addressed enterprise mobility with a steady drumbeat of effort. Generally, anyone with a legitimate business need who required remote access to corporate apps and resources could have it. But almost overnight, business need crescendoed and IT leaders had to pick up the tempo to provision access to everyone. In many cases, structure, security and user experience were afterthoughts, simply getting everyone connected the priority.
It is now time to revisit how and to whom access was granted, prioritizing visibility and control for IT and experience for end users, who include not only employees, but customers, partners and suppliers. Fortunately, secure and truly responsive enterprise mobility is possible with today’s APs, controllers and the management software that guides them.
Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI)
As a concept, VDI is a platform-agnostic computing model that allows users to access a consistent desktop experience regardless of when, where and how they work. The experience of using VDI is no different from using a local desktop. But with VDI, user programs, applications, processes and data reside on a remote central server that can be seamlessly accessed from anywhere, on any device.
With VDI, IT can mobilize the business, while reducing costs by centralizing control and security of intellectual property. VDI allows IT to deliver full desktops or just the apps to any device through a native experience that is optimized for the type of device, as well as the network.
This solution enables mobile workers to use the latest enterprise software products on mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. VDI reduces equipment costs and administrative overhead, allowing for simplified network design increased business agility.
Virtual desktop solutions can also help tap the potential of today’s mobile workforce by allowing workers to use the computing device of their choice in a manner that is consistent and secure. The result is a smarter way to do business that increases agility, lowers costs and reduces risk.
DaaS, meanwhile, delivers much of the same functionality as VDI. But, it goes a step farther in off-loading VDI infrastructure management from organizational IT teams to third-party cloud providers. As a cloud service, it can be scaled much more rapidly than traditional VDI and can offer resiliency and redundancy that VDI can’t.
Still, as with everything in IT, there are dependencies to consider that might make traditional VDI a better choice than DaaS for a particular organization. The decision just boils down to what technology will best serve organizational requirements.
Talk to your Structured representative today to discuss the best enterprise mobility and wireless solutions for your organization.
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Structured Professional Spotlight
Cheryl Hanna, Network Engineer – ACMP, ACCP
As an experienced and highly sought-after Network Engineer for Structured, Cheryl designs, configures and monitors customer networks – especially when hands-on work is required for WLANs and firewalls. But even though Cheryl is embedded in network projects year-round, she does find a little time in the winter to break away. On great powder days, you may just find her snowboarding at one of the region’s resorts.
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