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Networks failing to fully support mobile workers - report

Rapid rise of data consumption leading to problems

Business infrastructures and mobile networks are failing to keep up with the requirements of mobile workers, according to research.

iPass, a provider of mobility services for enterprises and telcos, questioned over 1,800 mobile enterprise employees at 1,100 enterprises worldwide, and found that technology and data consumption were evolving faster than the networks offered to support it.

The survey found a 25 percent decline in cellular mobile network satisfaction among respondents, as mobile device usage, social media adoption and data consumption are on the rise. Only half of those surveyed are satisfied with their data coverage and just a third are satisfied with network speed.

At the same time the number of devices carried for work has grown to 3.5 devices from 2.7 in 2011, including at least one laptop, a smartphone and a tablet. Tablet adoption has grown to 64 percent of those surveyed in 2012 from 41 percent in the second quarter of 2011.

According to the research business users are within range of a Wi-Fi network 61 percent of their day, with 58 percent of mobile employees actively using Wi-Fi more than two hours a day on their smartphones. Three-quarters (73 percent) used Wi-Fi to support their tablets and 83 percent for their laptops.

But a recent Gartner study concluded that, by 2015, 80 percent of newly installed enterprise wireless networks "will be obsolete" due to initial installation of non-scalable technology.

"Mobile employees are seeing a significant reduction in service levels due to the rapid rise of data consumption," said Barbara Nelson, chief technology officer at iPass.

"An enterprise's adaptation strategy should include investing in better management tools to monitor usage, upgrading infrastructure to address new capacity requirements, licensing outside network services and requiring employees to use inexpensive and secure Wi-Fi connections when possible," said Nelson.

Despite security and IT integration problems related to the consumerisation of IT in the workplace, CEOs and IT execs are resigned to its growth, according to other recent research.

Decisive Analytics questioned 440 CEOs and IT executives across the US, the UK and Germany, and found that 78 percent already allowed employees to use their personal devices, such as laptops, smartphones and tablets, for work.

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