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Wireless networks: The IoT Fundamental

Wireless or Wi-Fi networking when done right, can be a strategic IT advantage. Wireless enables mobility which in turn empowers workers to be more flexible, develop more innovative processes and raise productivity.

Zeus Kerravela of ZK Research said, “Businesses will only be as agile as their least agile component… for most, the network is now the single biggest inhibitor to achieving business agility.”

So, besides needing to fix the shortcomings of conventional networks, CIOs also have to address upcoming trends in their enterprise, most notable of all being the Internet of Things.

As consumerisation of IT takes hold of more and more workplaces and as more millennials enter the workforce, organisations are realising that enterprise mobility is also a business imperative.

Enterprise mobility deployment is not for the faint-hearted CIO. Add Internet of Things (IoT) into the equation, and it takes a smart CIO to know that the best foundation to build his or her IT empire upon is a wireless networking infrastructure that is robust, agile, scalable and secure.

IoT trends and applications

Popular research predicts there would be 50 billion endpoints by 2020. That’s five times more connected devices than today, and the numbers will likely rise with the cost of sensors having drastically reduced from USD20 to about USD1 today… this will likely reduce even further in four years to 20 cents.

With more and more devices having the inherent ability to be connected, collecting data with low-cost sensors and sending data (or little jigsaw pieces) back to create ‘Big Pictures’ for decision makers, possibilities have become virtually endless.

The following are potential impact IoT can have in different industries:

  • Building automation can reduce energy consumption and delivery significant cost savings
  • In healthcare, patient outcomes and resource efficiency can improve
  • IoT can reduce over-reliance upon human-initiated reactive response in workplace and public safety
  • With highway traffic and the integration of renewable energy into national grids, infrastructure management becomes more complex and would benefit from IoT and automation
  • Environmental monitoring with sensors monitoring the quality of air, water, soil and atmosphere is possible now.

Supporting cast

According to ZK Research, almost all IoT connections are made with IP (Internet Protocol), enabling billions of devices to be connected to a common network and without any of the pitfalls of different, proprietary standards. Also, with the latest version IPv6, there is almost an infinite number of devices that can be assigned a unique IP address.

With data analytics needing to be faster than ever before, edge computing technology has had to come around, to handle an unprecedented amount of data generated.

Foundation

The wireless network for IoT isn’t going to be like anything ever built before. This is something that has to support scale.

While wireless networking supports IoT, IoT in turns supports all kinds of ‘smart’ decision making for businesses, schools, cities, governments homes and more.

But it’s not enough for sensors to be plugged into the network to feed it data. The network has to support ‘smarter’ decision-making which takes into account as many sources of contextual information as possible, and all these data travelling to where it needs to be, to be analysed very, very quickly, deliver insight, and ultimately drive informed decisions.

With the wireless network being the foundation to something that is so massive, so beneficial and so omnipresent, the danger of a multiplier effect looms ever present over IoT – seconds of downtime can lead to loss of crucial sensor data and as a result, hours of disruption to services.

Always-on availability takes on new meaning in the IoT world and security is very, very, very vital.

Let’s not forget wired networks in this instance. Wireless networks must be secured correctly, and so must the wired network.




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