Companies embrace WLANs

Enterprises are beginning to accept the advantages of wireless local area networks (WLANs), according to Datamonitor. However, concerns about security are holding WLANs back.

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By  Neil Denslow Published  October 10, 2002

Enterprises are beginning to accept the advantages of wireless local area networks (WLANs), according to Datamonitor. However, concerns about security are holding back further deployments.

The analyst house says that WLANs are beginning to break into the enterprise space, despite the economic downturn and the problems associated with the still relatively new technology. 20% of the survey’s respondents had already deployed some form of wLAN system, with a further 18% actively considering it.

The main reason for implementing wLANs was to allow employees the ability to hot-desk, which was cited by 60% of respondents. Almost half the respondents also considered wLANs to be simple to install and use, as they can be deployed alongside LANs without extensive recabling.

Concerns still surround the technology though. Security was the biggest issue, cited by 56% of respondents, following reports of ‘drive-by hacking’ and ‘wall chalking,’ an urban myth suggesting that buildings with insecure wLANs are marked by hackers.

However, Adrian Drozd, enterprise networking analyst, Datamonitor, concludes that "despite limited IT budget availability, wireless LANs are steadily gaining acceptance among enterprises. While the penetration of this technology is not yet particularly high, companies are beginning to understand the considerable advantages that it can provide. In many cases, wLAN is currently being evaluated by companies to enable them to understand exactly what business benefits the technology can offer. However, the security flaws associated with wLAN is still proving to be a hindrance to uptake — vendors need to work more closely with security specialists in order to alleviate these concerns."

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