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4/20/2011
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Fritz Nelson
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How To Sort Through Enterprise Mobility Challenges

Mobility is demanding the attention of IT. Whether it's building a scalable wireless infrastructure, or supporting the newest smartphone or tablet, the choices are daunting. Interop's wireless and mobility conference track can help sort out these challenges.

IT managers have been wrestling with mobility issues for decades, mostly on the infrastructure side. While most companies have built robust ad hoc wireless networks for guests, roaming end users, and conference room inhabitants, many of the same issues we've been dealing with from the beginning are still today's difficulties. Arguments still rage over where to put the network intelligence -- in a big, smart controller (Cisco and Aruba), or at the edge in the access points (Aerohive), Mathais says. Some vendors (Trapeze and Motorola, for example) use a hybrid model. BlueSocket employs a controller running in a virtual machine (powered by VMware). Motorola has what it calls an adaptive architecture, where the intelligence roams around. Confused? Core Competence president Lisa Phifer will help sort things out in her Interop session "Just What Is A Controller Anyway?: The Great WLAN Architecture Debate."

Meantime, as always, work continues on simply going faster. In "Off The Hook: Advances In Wireless LAN Technologies," OctoScope president Fanny Milnarsky will lead a discussion about various 802.11 efforts to drive gigabit speeds over 5-GHz and 60-GHz spectrum. The technology exists, Mathais says, but each effort has its tradeoffs. 5-GHz technology (802.11ac) propagates better, Mathais says, but it presents regulatory challenges, given all the traffic already in the 5-GHz band. 60 GHz (802.11ad), which is used mostly for inter-satellite connections, is plentiful, but its range is limited and it doesn't propagate well.

Security is probably the most vital mobile issue that enterprise IT managers face. Our own Art Wittmann, VP and director of InformationWeek Analytics, will lead a session aimed at the unique security challenges of midsize companies -- those with around 500 employees.

We hope to see you there.

Fritz Nelson is the editorial director for InformationWeek and the Executive Producer of TechWebTV. Fritz writes about startups and established companies alike, but likes to exploit multiple forms of media into his writing.

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