According to IDC, worldwide IoT market spend can increase to $1.1 trillion in 2021, whereas the installed base of IoT endpoints is anticipated to achieve over thirty-six billion units by the end of the same year. However, the heterogeneous nature of the IoT has created multiple complexities for deployments within the enterprise. Whereas the value of sensors has trended downward over the years, there’s currently a major cost associated with building out multiple networks to support endpoint communication. Moreover, enterprises are contending with the steep, long-run cost of managing, securing and maintaining separate networks for disparate wireless protocols. Though ultimately unsustainable, the preceding paradigm is serving as an accidental catalyst for the trend of wireless convergence within the enterprise. Let’s explore this idea in detail below.
1) Multiple Wireless Radio Technologies
Wi-Fi isn’t perpetually the default choice for firms marketing IoT devices like smart door locks or wearable employees alert buttons. This could be attributed to a variety of things like power constraints, the demand for a lot of compact kind factors and comparatively restricted data transfers (no need for an enormous information pipe). Consequently, there are a various variety of radio types that are being deployed within the enterprise IoT space. additionally, to Wi-Fi, these embody BLE, Zigbee, and LoRa. These deployments typically lead to the creation of separate wireless networks, driving up TCO because of redundant wiring, power, and management tools.
2) The Demand for Unified Management
The unified management of wired (LAN) and wireless (WLAN) networks has become a vital selling point over the past decade. This is because administrators are notoriously unforgiving to vendors that force them to work with a separate management system for every network element. It merely isn’t cost-effective to own one management system for switches, another for access points and however more for additional wireless IoT endpoints. The shortage of appetite for disparate management systems – whether or not for switches, APs or security – has long been a catalyst for network vendor consolidation. Put simply, IT departments are no longer willing to work with multiple management systems and powerfully like vendors that give a unified pane of glass for network management.
3) Deployment Issues: Lack of Physical space
With a separate network for every wireless IoT protocol, enterprises are quickly running out of physical real-estate to deal with further network components. This is because every disparate network needs space to deal with an IoT gateway, a separate firewall, still as switches, powering and cable infrastructure. A scarcity of physical space poses a major barrier to adoption – apart from those with the most to gain or the foremost to lose.
The Solution: The Converged Access point
Unifying multiple wireless protocols – like BLE, Zigbee, and LoRa – within a single AP enables IT, administrators, to save lots of physical space and streamline secure device onboarding. Moreover, a converged AP permits administrators to more easily view, manage and secure their entire wireless infrastructure with one pane of glass. This facilitates network automation, the generation of actionable analytics and therefore the creation of custom dashboards with open APIs.
From our perspective, the converged access point is that the antithesis of the trend towards ‘commoditized’ APs, permitting support for new services and doubtless profitable revenue streams. The once humble access point is turning into a hotbed of recent and exciting innovation, with a lot of and more technologies being engineered directly into the AP. for instance, the R730 packs embedded Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) and Zigbee radios, along with support for IoT modules which will accommodate additional physical layer protocols like LoRa.
Disparate wireless IoT networks like BLE, Zigbee and LoRa are expensive to deploy, operate, secure and manage. Unifying multiple wireless protocols among a single AP permits IT administrators, to save lots of physical space and streamline secure device onboarding. additionally, a converged AP permits administrators to more easily view, manage and secure their entire wireless infrastructure with one management console. However, it’s necessary to emphasize that incorporating non-Wi-Fi standards into a standard ‘Wi-Fi only’ AP creates a slew of technological challenges that vary from coexistence interference to traffic coordination. This can be a subject we’ll explore in-depth in a future blog post.
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