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Mobility report wireless technology supported by sm bs


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Mobility report wireless technology supported by sm bs

  1. 1. Wireless Technology Supported by SMBsBy Mike JudeResearch Analyst, Nemertes ResearchThe Wireless Landscape Small to midsize businesses face complex decisions when they seek toemploy wireless technologies in support of their business processes. Wireless ischaracterized by many competing vendors, many competing products and serviceplans, and many competing technologies. Choosing the wrong carrier ortechnology can strand investment or increase costs as equipment or applicationsare made obsolete by developments in the market. How is the SMB going to makethe correct decision on technology selection? SMBs that want to minimize the risks associated with technology selectionmust understand the technology that is available and then must understand howbest-of-class companies are deploying that technology.Technologies in Use by SMBs One way to assess technology selections is to look at what other similarlyplaced businesses are doing. Sixty-nine percent of market-leading SMBs aredeploying mobile broadband, (Please see Figure 1: SMB Use of Mobile WirelessBroadband, Page 2), including such things as laptop aircards, wireless PDAs anddata-capable cellphones. When we look at those businesses that intend to havemobile broadband deployed within three years, the total rises to more than 82percent. Only 23 percent say they have no plans. This is significant since it showsthat SMBs are increasingly enabling mobile operations, primarily to enable theiremployees to operate closer to their customers. ©Nemertes Research 2009   888-241-2685  1
  2. 2. Figure 1: SMB Use of Mobile Wireless Broadband (Source: Nemertes AdvancedCommunications Services) Of those SMBs that indicate that they use wireless broadband, aircards andBlackBerry devices make up most of the devices supported. Notably, iPhones arealso in use. (Please see Figure 2: SMB Wireless Devices Supported, Page 3.) Theimplication is that SMBs are finding ways to use consumer-oriented technology forbusiness purposes. In fact, this is the case. SMB decision makers indicate that they are usingwireless as a means for enabling field forces, and as a way to make their employeesmore mobile and to place them closer to the customer. In many cases, this meansenabling the employee’s personal cell phone to access business data. However,before mobility applications can be deployed, it is important to understandwhether the carrier’s wireless data service can support the application that is beingcontemplated. If the data rate being provided is too slow or if coverage is spotty,then applications that are sensitive to time outs or which depend on large datadownloads may not work well. To a large extent, the service provided by the carrier depends on thetechnology that it has selected (second-generation wireless, third-generationwireless, etc.) and the coverage of that technology. It is important to havediscussions with the carrier on its current technology and its plans for evolvingthat technology prior to deploying wireless mobility solutions. ©Nemertes Research 2009   888-241-2685  2
  3. 3. Figure 2: SMB Wireless Devices Supported (Source: Nemertes Advanced CommunicationsServices) Looking at WiFi, we see SMBs that either currently use or are anticipatingusing WiFi (fixed wireless) within three years amount to 46 percent. (Please seeFigure 3: SMB Use of Fixed Wireless, Page 4.) Another 15 percent are evaluatingsuch technology. Since many SMBs lack the large campus environments thatcharacterize large business, this is a strong indication that WiFi is being placed asan alternative to fixed networks. The reason for this is simple: cost. Implementing a WiFi network that cansupport both voice and desktop data access is much cheaper than wiring up a smalloffice for Ethernet. In many cases, a single wireless router can take the place ofseveral wired devices plus the wiring to support them. A principal issue, though, is that that there are now several flavors of WiFi.WiFi has evolved from strictly production based wireless telemetry with low data ©Nemertes Research 2009   888-241-2685  3
  4. 4. transfer rates, to very capable data rates such as that provided by the 802.11gstandard, which has up to 54 Mbps of bandwidth. Now, however, the new 802.11n equipment is becoming available. 802.11n,can deliver very impressive bandwidth beginning at 65 Mbp and extending to ashigh as 300 Mbps in a half-duplex (one-way) mode. This means that 802.11n candeliver performance that is nearly as good as any dedicated wired network.Figure 3: SMB Use of Fixed Wireless (Source: Nemertes Advanced Communications Services) Clearly, market leading SMBs are adopting wireless, both fixed and cellular,to enable business processes. SMBs that are not may find themselves at asignificant disadvantage as more mobile businesses out maneuver them to accesscustomers and market opportunities. ©Nemertes Research 2009   888-241-2685  4
  5. 5. Recommendations  Know your technologies. SMBs should not depend on vendors for their technology information. Although vendors are usually clear about what their technology can do, many are vague about what their technology can’t do. SMBs should find and routinely access an independent source for objective technology information.  Know your carriers. SMBs have many carrier choices. Understanding those carriers and their technology evolution plans is essential to both obtaining and evolving wireless solutions that deliver good business value. SMBs should demand and receive detailed information on technology evolution from prospective carriers.  Know your competition’s technology plans. SMBs are quickly increasing their use of mobility to support business. Understanding the best-in-class applications of technology can be the difference between staying in business and losing business. As above, tapping a trusted third party for technology information can be an essential part of doing business.About Nemertes Research: Nemertes Research is a research-advisory firm thatspecializes in analyzing and quantifying the business value of emerging technologies. Youcan learn more about Nemertes Research at our Website,, or contactus directly at ©Nemertes Research 2009   888-241-2685  5