The halcyon days of global and industrial supremacy may belong gone, but there are still some areas where Britain is leading the world, andwhen it comes to the deployment and use of wireless networking technology we’restill at the top of the pile.
We can give thanks to the byzantine British public sectorfor much of this investment, and as a reseller, if you want to do well inwireless then it’s an area you should be targeting, says Tim Close, managingdirector of wireless distributor 802 Global, which is just announcing newvendor partnerships with WiMAX specialist Alvarion and rugged wirelesssolutions developer Ubiquiti.
“The public sector, education and health, are naturaltargets,” he says, pointing to the multi-site operations run by local NHS trusts,or the mobile nature of teachers and pupils moving around school campuses.
“In social inclusion projects, such as bringing broadband todisadvantaged children, it’s a cost effective way of delivering high qualityservices to social housing projects. Enable estates for wi-fi, and then uselow-cost receivers to get tenants online,” he explains.
Close cites statistics suggesting that the proliferation of cheap mobilehandsets means that up to 70% of fixed-line outlets in council houses are neverused, so installing wi-fi also allows poorer families to skip the heftyconnection charges levied by BT.
Close also suggests the UK’s obsession with videosurveillance could be an ideal jumping off point. Whatever your views on theproliferation of CCTV cameras in towns and cities, they all need connecting tosomething if they are to function, and if you’re going to be selling a wirelessnetwork for that, you should be adding other services to the mix.
Phil Belanger, vice president of marketing and businessdevelopment at WLAN vendor Extricom, says that the imminent ratification of the802.11n standard later this year is driving interest outside the public sectortoo.
“It will become more reliable, and hopefully people will nowbegin to put more mission critical apps on wireless,” he says.
“But the challenges for enterprises will be to rethink theWLAN. More mission critical applications will mean more stress on the network,and a need for new tools and technology,” continues Belanger.
“Sharper resellers should already be all over this as thevendors have only begun to scratch the surface in terms of how to deploy and gobeyond 802.11n.”
Private sector interest is coming primarily from multi-siteoperations that want to cut their communications costs, with seaports andmarinas of particular interest. Wireless is also finding a ready home in supermarkets,particularly those that need to connect a separate petrol station to theirstore network.
“Analysts who’ve compared leased line charges to the cost ofwireless have found an average 39 to 72% saving over a three-year contract,”says Close. “Anybody worth his salt should be doing this.”
This was first published in May 2009