Unbearable Diversity of Users
Security is still a hot-button issue for the IT department and the higher-ups they report to (see Aruba Creates Security Stir if you need any proof of that). But it is by no means the only issue that is on the minds of the techies on the Aruba panel, who all -- incidentally -- run networks using a mix of kit from different vendors.
Brad Noblet, the director of technical services at Dartmouth College, sees a major challenge in adding the capacity he needs for his wireless network while keeping costs down.
Noblet currently has a network of around 600 of Cisco Systems Inc.'s (Nasdaq: CSCO) 350 series APs, a smattering of that firm's 1200 series APs, and about 200 "thin" APs from Aruba.
Noblet reckons that it has cost over a million dollars to install the APs, and now he wants to increase capacity without busting the budget.
"I need to go to somewhere around 1,500 APs," says Noblet. "So the cost of those endpoints becomes crucial to me." Noblet is considering some services for the students that run over the 5GHz 802.11 channels, such as voice-over IP and video. These services are likely to require the extra throughput that the 54-Mbit/s 802.11a standard can provide, but supporting multiple flavors of wireless LAN is also likely to add to deployment costs.
Gary Jenkins, head of network engineering at Sharp Healthcare, says that his biggest headache across the seven hospitals and 40 clinics he deals with is allowing medical staff a "single sign-on" to their applications when logging on the network. A discussion of electronic tokens ensued...
Ahem. But Jenkins really did have a clear picture of the kind of return on investment he gets from wireless LANs. Because of all precautions the IT department has to take when installing Ethernet jacks in a hospital environment, it can cost up to $3,000 to install a single wired connection.
Jenkins says that he can use a single access point to cover an area that used to require 10 Ethernet jacks.
But John Griener, CTO at the not-for-profit organization, Legal Services of New York, finds that security is still one of his big concerns. Mainly because his security staff are actually still leery about him running a public access hotspot in the group's training facility on Broadway.
The more things change...
— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Unstrung