Facts vs. Wireless Fictions

— May 01, 2007

Six Myths about wireless have sidelined many a project. So keep your facts straight and your deployment on track.

Since I first became involved with corporations interested in wireless voice and data technologies in 1990, I have been answering the same questions again and again. So I would like to take this opportunity to set the record straight. Over time, coverage and voice services have improved and data speeds are much faster, but there are still many misconceptions about wireless. The six myths of wireless implementation are:

Myth 1: Mobile data devices and services cost too much.
Fact: Wireless pays, it does not cost. Many return-on-investment models measure payback in months, not years. Run your own numbers and see how much time and money you will save, how much better your customer relationships will be and how soon wireless will begin paying dividends.

Myth 2: Wireless data is not secure.
Fact: Wide-area broadband wireless has been designed to provide security within the network; adding a VPN or other security at the applications layer makes it as secure as your wired connections. WiFi hotspots, muni WiFi and other local-area services do not provide security when you first log on at the wireless level, but wide-area wireless does!

Myth 3: Implementing wireless services requires re-training help desk staff and hours on the phone with your mobile workforce getting it to work.
Fact: Using wireless wide-area broadband, especially when embedded in a notebook computer, is easier than making a hotel DSL connection and far easier than finding a WiFi hotspot and signing on for service.

Myth 4: Wireless broadband coverage is spotty and unreliable.
Fact: Wireless broadband services are available in most of the United States, and more locations are being added all of the time. Even if the fastest network speed is not available where you are, even the slowest speed available is faster than dial-up.

Myth 5: Wireless technologies are evolving so quickly, I should wait to see what's next and not rush into a mobile broadband deployment.
Fact: Wireless is advancing quickly, as did dial-up to DSL on the wired side, yet each advancement brings better speeds and more capabilities. Networks work hard to provide both an upgrade and a fall-back path for their customers.

Myth 6: Many wireless data pilot programs have failed to prove the value vs. cost.
Fact: There must be a partnership between the solutions provider and the customer, the pilot must be managed and results should be calculated. Corporations need to involve their workforce in the process and trial wireless solutions with their best and worst employees.

Sometimes believing only one of these myths is enough to sideline an implementation. But once those responsible for technology upgrades understand that wireless pays for itself in only a few months, is secure and will not swamp their help desks with calls, they are ready to move forward with a trial implementation. Those who hang onto these myths are setting up their companies to be outdone by their competitors, many of whom have already embraced wireless and are providing better service to their clients. //

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