Report: Enterprise needs to think Wi-Fi

A report issued this month by the SeaBoard Group says Canadian companies should be positioning themselves for Wi-Fi adoption within the enterprise.

The study, called the Adoption of Wireless LANs in Canada: SOHO to Enterprise, found that nearly one-third of organizations surveyed had deployed some sort of wireless LAN (WLAN) during the period ranging from December 2000 until this month. While most of these deployments had been part of a corporate roll-out or test, several companies reported more ad-hoc type of implementations.

The study found there were numerous advantages to rolling out some kind of wireless LAN, including lower costs than traditional LAN infrastructure, the flexibility it could offer and the interoperability between Wi-Fi and existing infrastructure. Respondents said the main reason for their Wi-Fi undertaking was the flexibility it offered to users and their existing systems.

The biggest drawback to adoption remains security.

“The biggest thing we found is the fear of security. It’s a lot more prevalent for people that haven’t adopted than people that have adopted,” said Brian Sharwood, principal at Toronto-based SeaBoard Group. Even with virtual private networks (VPNs) and hardware in place that makes the networks as secure as they can be, it continues to be a tough sell for company’s that haven’t pursued a wireless strategy.

Less revealing was the notion that “road warriors” were creating the demand for wireless computing, he noted. Hot spot offerings do exist at Union Station in Toronto – a Bell Canada offering.

When asked if adoption rates would rise in Canada this year, Sharwood said that in the absence of concrete pricing available, it was difficult to gauge if usage would climb.

The SeaBoard Group is online at