When Robert Howard first took over as CIO at Armstrong Atlantic State University in Savannah, Ga., last year, there was little doubt of his mandate. “Wireless connectivity and general bandwidth issues were a point of concern among students,” Howard says. And that concern was warranted — the university’s bring-your-own-device policy had sparked a 250% increase in the number of devices attaching to the network in the previous 12 months.
“Users are increasingly dependent on network infrastructure — cloud, mobility and social platforms are touching all areas of the enterprise,” says Sanchit Vir Gogia, chief analyst and group CEO at Greyhound Research. “If the network becomes the choke point, then it will have an impact on the user experience and IT will be blamed.” He adds that IT has to develop metrics around wireless and wired access that must measure any drop in performance and the overall impact on user experience.
Sanchit Vir Gogia, chief analyst and group CEO at Greyhound Research, offers similar warnings about throwing everything on the wireless network. “Wireless is not always the solution,” he says. Companies should study usage and then develop an intelligent strategy. For instance, they can segment their networks by categories of users and by type of traffic, which might alleviate bandwidth strain to not only their wireless access points but also their core switches.
Gogia says applying intelligence to bandwidth use could buy an organization enough headroom to ward off the need for a major increase. One example of intelligent bandwidth management, he says, is scanning each packet of network traffic to help determine which applications and users require more resources. That approach helps IT maintain more granular control.
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