Wireless-only Workplace – Really?

The all Wi-Fi office. As in Wi-Fi only. Yes, Wi-Fi as the primary network.

We’ll get to the assumptions through all the conversations in this blog. Yes, planning for Wi-Fi as the primary network access is loaded with a myriad of important WLAN design considerations. Yes, of course its not zero cables. Over and above the supporting role of wired infrastructure to connect to each AP back to ethernet switches, there are potentially all manner of devices today without Wi-Fi chipsets built-in. Multi-function units, esoteric machines in certain industry verticals, and so on. If the device is stationary and has no Wi-Fi support, plug it in. For now.

Wireless connectivity is inexorably moving into dominance as the primary network access.  All the data sees this, and empirically, anecdotally, anyway you care to call it – the velocity of wireless to supplant wired networks is accelerating.

Not hard up front to see some very good reasons why. Freedom. The flexibility to work anywhere with anyone, anytime. Flexibility is not a major selling point of the traditional cabled ethernet LAN. Going to need a high-performance reliable wireless network to create the environment to attract talent, optimise productivity and efficiency, all the while meeting staff expectations they can pull out any number of fun, stylish BYOD devices and get serious work done. Millennials anyone?

A confluence of trends and behaviours are working together to arrive at the all-wireless workplace. For Millennials its visceral – they’ve already stopped reading this – have already said thanks for the trip to Obviousville I’m out of here, besides I haven’t checked my device for 15 seconds and this twitchy panicky feeling can’t be soothed any other way. An engaged Millennial is strongly correlated with an untethered flexible rich wireless user experience.

Mobile-first is often cited to describe what it means to work in a next generation workplace. The platform for mobile-first is a robust pervasive high-performance WLAN.

Phil Flaxton (chief executive of Work Wise UK) says “… work is an activity we do rather than a place we go to”. My take on a wireless-only workplace is “… work is an activity we do rather than a desk we go to”.