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Our customers reveal the ROI of their wireless LANs

By Dragana Beara, Sr. Solutions Marketing Manager, HP Networking


Dragana Beara"We have a smokin' [wireless] network and everyone knows it." Nope, that’s not me talking about our office network (which is, of course, very robust); it’s a quote by a network manager who was interviewed by IDC for a recently published wireless LAN (WLAN) white paper.


The engineer is one of six HP Networking customers from midsize organizations in the US and Europe interviewed by IDC for a white paper titled, “Enhancing Business Value with Enterprise WLAN and Mobility Solutions.” The customers, whose WLANs range from new deployments to upgrades or significant expansions, reported a number of business gains:

  • Improved bandwidth and coverage
  • Improved user productivity due to increased network uptime
  • Infrastructure cost reductions
  • Improved IT staff productivity

Overall, the organizations on average: reduced TCO by 47%, achieved a 567 percent return on their investment, with an average annual benefit of more than $242,000 per 100 users, and a seven-month payback period.


Mobility is one of the four pillars of what IDC refers to as the “3rd Platform” of computing, a core set of technologies that is driving industry and enterprise innovation and growth. (Cloud computing, Big Data, and social technologies make up the three remaining pillars.)


Wireless LANs are essential for enterprise users


Wireless is no longer an optional nice-to-have—employees expect WLAN access wherever they are around campus. Mobility allows employees to become untethered from their desks and collaborate with colleagues, whether they’re around the water cooler, in a conference room, or on the factory floor.


The growing number of access points and mobile apps that survey respondents support speaks to the increasing importance of mobility. The respondents reported:

  • 21,296 access points supported, on average
  • 723 percent growth in the number of access points supported over three years
  • 20 percent growth in mobile apps over three years

And with the bring-your-own-device (BYOD) trend, gone are the days when IT could dictate which mobile devices their employees use at work. Now expected to support a broader range of devices, IT paradoxically exerts less control over them. IDC studies show that in 2012, 68 percent of the smartphones employees used to access business applications were employee-owned, up from 45 percent in 2010.


Robust WLANs required for successful BYOD and rich media access


IDC notes two advances that are elevating the importance of wireless in the enterprise: the BYOD movement, and the rise of IP voice and video.


BYOD presents a trade-off: It gives users the freedom to access business data from their personal devices, but it also requires you to safeguard the network against perils posed by equipment you can’t vet. Also, how do you enable your BYOD users to seamlessly toggle between their personal mobile devices and their desktops? The solution is a unified wired and wireless strategy that allows you to provision and manage a holistic network for your mobile and desk-bound workers. You can get information about how to clear the BYOD complexity and manage your networks smarter in my colleague’s blog post.


In a similar vein, workers increasingly need to use video and rich-media collaboration applications such as Lync as part of their everyday experience. Video in the workplace also includes watching YouTube videos. Many businesses have YouTube channels, and video has become a popular way for businesses to post content, such as how-to guides. (Check out HP Networking’s YouTube channel.) According to YouTube, mobile makes up more than 25 percent of YouTube's global viewing time, with more than one billion views a day (when including all types of content).


According to IDC, “IP voice and video require greater levels of bandwidth and availability in the wireless network, as well as management and optimization services to provide users with the best possible experience.”


Learn more


Download the IDC white paper for further analysis of the benefits and challenges of enterprise WLANs. You’ll also get insights from HP Networking customers into how our solutions provide business value, reduce infrastructure costs, and enhance user and IT-staff productivity.


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