Select the wireless internet access thats right for you - plan it

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If you or your employees work remotely, selecting a wireless internet access technology depends on a few factors. Let's look at different situations that might apply to you or your workers and discuss the costs associated with providing wireless access.

Where do you need to connect?

One factor that plays a major role in selecting a wireless access method is where you need to connect. After all, the degree of mobility needed varies among workers:
•  Transient workers: These are consultants and sales or deployment professionals, for example, who travel most of the time but are often at one location (such as a client site) for the duration of their travel. Although they generally need to be connected at the work site, they also need access at hotels and airports.
Where do you need to connect?
•  Road warrior workers: This category often includes executives who travel frequently but on shorter visits than the transient worker. They tend to connect at hotels and airports a greater amount of time than the transient worker.
•  Occasional business travelers: These employees spend a minority of their time traveling but can still take advantage of the benefits of mobile access.
WWAN is available anywhere you have a cell phone connection. Wi-Fi (WLAN) connections are limited to areas in which an individual or company makes it available, such as at coffee shops, airports, hotels, or customer sites.

What speed do you need?

A key advantage of a WLAN is high speed. Depending on the technology used, many hotspots offer 4 to 12 Mbps between systems, although access to the internet often tops out at 5 Mbps. Most Mobile Broadband connections offer 1 to 3 Mbps.

WWAN and WLAN security concerns

Another important consideration in selecting an access method is security. WLAN hotspots have the advantage of being plentiful in retail and travel locations. However, that openness also means you're accessing what could be sensitive business data at an essentially open public access point.
Note: Many companies have policies prohibiting access to the corporate network through such hotspots.
Depending on encryption and security measures, getting access to a secured WLAN can become an ordeal. A mobile worker stationed at a well-secured client site, for example, may need—at minimum—to acquire and enter encryption keys into their notebook PC or mobile device, or to locate help desk workers to enter the keys into databases and enable them behind a firewall.
WWAN connections have built-in 128-bit encryption, so the risk of data interception, theft, and modification is significantly reduced. This is the same level of encryption used throughout the internet, and for governmental, banking, and military applications. Access via a WWAN helps you and your employees connect effortlessly while abiding by existing organizational security policies. And, because it works virtually anywhere within a carrier's coverage area, connectivity issues are reduced.
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