ScanSource: The New Mobility

    In the days leading up to this year’s event, some of our top sponsors have shared their thoughts on our industry. Today we close out the 2012 ShoreTel Champion Partner Conference with some final thoughts from ScanSource – as chief technology officer Greg Dixon shares his thoughts on where mobility is taking us.


    After World War 2, America experienced an incredible time of economic growth.

    The industrial machine that had turned out airplanes and tanks for the war effort, now turned to more civil matters, like making automobiles. Americans wanted to be more mobile, so the demand for cars and trucks rapidly grew by a factor of 10. As more and more cars were put on the roads of America, it became quickly apparent that we did not have the infrastructure to support this growth. So, General-turned-President Dwight D. Eisenhower championed the Interstate Highway System in 1956; we now have over 46,000 miles of Interstate highways. Of course, the local roads that connected us to these new federal highways had to be improved and extended as well. Today the automobile is part of our modern American culture and everyday life. American mobility depends entirely on the infrastructure that is made up of interstate and local highways.

    Now, in a new century, we find ourselves in a new mobility boom.

    We want more and more mobile computing, mobile communications and mobile collaboration. The demand is on for mobility and the proliferation of new devices is astounding. But, just like the post-war automobile boom of the 1950s, we have to consider the infrastructure that will carry the traffic of this new mobility.

    Wireless communications has become ubiquitous in North America. The cellular carriers are making the jump from 3rd Generation (3G) to 4th Generation (4G) technologies and the results are amazing with download speeds reaching 10 mbps. The big wireless carriers are the Interstate Highway of The New Mobility and have enabled a dramatic new Wireless Wide Area Network (WWAN) for mobile applications. For years, the traditional wired "phone companies" struggled with the limitations inherent to the "last mile" of the circuit. In today's wireless environment, it's the "last hundred meters" that is of concern. Mobile applications begin inside the enterprise on the wireless Ethernet network. As mobile devices and applications grow in number, the Wireless Local Area Network (WLAN) must be improved and expanded to keep up with the demand.

    The advent of the Interstate Highway system required the improvement and expansion of local roads and streets. The New Mobility is a great opportunity for technology resellers to completely rethink their customers' WLANs.

    Here are some ideas to get you started:

    First, consider the various types of devices that might exist on a customer's WLAN

    • Laptop computers with access to line-of-business applications
    • Portable Data Terminals used in more rugged environments
    • Tablets - running iOS, Android or even Windows 8
    • Smart Phones - running iOS, Android, Win 8
    • Other purpose-built devices that you might find in hospitals or manufacturing

    Next, consider the various types of users who might carry these devices

    • Heavy users who require constant high bandwidth access to data
    • Medium users who are on and off the network throughout the day
    • Light duty users who need occasional access to email or internet

    Last, by creating a network policy grid of User Types and Device Types, you can determine


    • Bandwidth requirements
    • Security requirements
    • What resources they have access to, such as Internet, applications, databases, printers, etc

    There is one more consideration that must be addressed: BYOD or Bring Your Own Device.


    This phenomenon is bringing big implications to enterprise WLANs. Users want to stay connected to their personal networks (email, social media, etc) and are bringing their personal devices onto the company network. Efforts to limit this BYOD invasion have been generally ineffective, forcing WLAN administrators to deal with the extra traffic these devices put on the network. BYOD will add a new set of device- and user-types to your WLAN policy grid and, with them, considerations on your bandwidth requirements both on the Local Area and the Wide Area networks, as well as security and access questions.

    For Technology Users, these concerns are very real and must be addressed if Users are to reap the benefits of mobility.

    For Technology Resellers, The New Mobility provides a whole new set of opportunities to improve and extend the Wireless Local Area Network for new and existing customers.

     "In preparing for battle I have found that plans are useless, but planning is indispensable."

    Dwight D. Eisenhower


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