Consumer Tablets, 4G & the Enterprise

Andrew Froehlich, Network Engineer & IT Consultant | 3/16/2012 | 21 comments

Andrew Froehlich
For IT news junkies like me, the last several weeks have featured a bombardment of iPad-related articles. But instead of regurgitating Apple bullet points, I want to talk about a single feature of the newest generation of tablets such as the iPad that will have a major impact on the US enterprise: Long Term Evolution (LTE) operability.

It's been said that tablets consume content while PCs create it. Streaming audio and video on the go have become very popular among consumer tablet users, and that requires high-speed wireless broadband. In a sense, wireless network expansion is becoming consumer-driven.

Having consumers drive wireless expansion means there are far more individuals demanding 4G networks than there are businesses. Since wireless telecommunication providers will spend the money to build faster networks only when the demand reaches its saturation point, having millions of consumers wanting the service allows for more rapid deployment.

This increased consumer demand is quite a shift for those of us in the United States. Our cellular-based networks used to lag those in Europe and Asia, because the overall demand for wireless networks wasn't there. Our wired infrastructure was well established, and a wire-free network didn't seem necessary. Now that the demand for pure mobility has become mainstream, we're seeing the US creep ahead in terms of wireless access and innovation.

On the other hand, service providers tend to view consumers and enterprise customers very differently, and the pricing structure is slanted toward individuals. That's why we're seeing all these data restrictions and overage charges. This pricing structure was built for individual consumers, not for enterprise customers, which require more regularity in their monthly expenses.

As wireless networks evolve and get faster, they become more desirable for enterprise users, which often require more speed and throughput for their applications. Faster speeds mean heavier use, which means more overage charges. Enterprise budgeting managers will probably struggle for a while to get a handle on how much more data mobile employees will actually consume.

In the end, the growth of 4G networks, however it is driven, should be viewed in a positive light by the enterprise. The popularity of mobile devices such as 4G tablets, as well as consumer demand for speed and coverage, will be incredibly beneficial to enterprises with mobile employees. As long as wireless budgets are adjusted to handle the additional data use by mobile employees, the enterprise should get ready for increased mobile access thanks to consumer-based products like the new iPad.

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geeky   Consumer Tablets, 4G & the Enterprise   6/5/2012 10:16:48 AM
Re: Consumer Tablets, 4G & the Enterprise
Yes saving time is a good point but just becasue to save time you cannot rush certain things in life. You have to allow them to take time and build accordingly.
batye   Consumer Tablets, 4G & the Enterprise   6/2/2012 12:51:19 PM
Re: Consumer Tablets, 4G & the Enterprise
yes, it would cost good penny, but on the long run if you save time - you do save money... and in my book's saving time is more valuble, as you could not buy time...
mejiac   Consumer Tablets, 4G & the Enterprise   3/31/2012 8:37:57 AM
Re: Consumer Tablets, 4G & the Enterprise
@Gigi, in that same line of thought, for companies that already deployed tablets and smartphones to their workforce, upgrading to 4G might become as difficult as transitioning from windows XP to Vista/7, being cost and support for current infrastructure the main concern.

glenbren   Consumer Tablets, 4G & the Enterprise   3/25/2012 11:12:03 PM
Re: Enterprise tablets
I've found that the addition of a small Bluetooth keyboard is enough to bridge the gap for me. I'm a fan of the tablet format and use it for a great deal of my work. 

I'm a huge fan of the tablet. I have two of them, but I haven't found a way to use them for work at all. One of my tablets has a keyboard that attaches to the screen, but even with that I don't find I can use it for work. I guess it depends on what kind of work you do. 
geeky   Consumer Tablets, 4G & the Enterprise   3/24/2012 6:26:56 AM
Re: Consumer Tablets, 4G & the Enterprise
Yes the cost is the issue right now but the features ae unmatchable with any other product 
impactnow   Consumer Tablets, 4G & the Enterprise   3/20/2012 11:21:38 AM
Re: Consumer Tablets, 4G & the Enterprise

I absolutely agree that demand for tablets and wireless access will increase however I think the cost of wireless is still outrageous. I actually bought a kindle to avoid the charges I was paying for access. While I know free wifi isn't everywhere it's in enough places to make sense for me.

geeky   Consumer Tablets, 4G & the Enterprise   3/19/2012 10:41:05 AM
Re: Consumer Tablets, 4G & the Enterprise
Well I do not agree with you on that statement because right now most of the people even the ones who have less facilities in the sub - continent are aware on the latest improvements in the technology. SO how can you say something like this ?
Technocrat   Consumer Tablets, 4G & the Enterprise   3/19/2012 8:48:51 AM
Re: Consumer Tablets, 4G & the Enterprise

@Gigi   Great concern and question, there are many out there who don't believe 4G even exists, sure seems like a marketing ploy.

Gigi   Consumer Tablets, 4G & the Enterprise   3/19/2012 5:58:15 AM
Re: Consumer Tablets, 4G & the Enterprise
Andrew, I have a basic doubt. So far 3G and 3.5G are widely using across different platforms like tablet, smartphones etc. Now recently introduced companies had introduced 4G supporting devices also, but I would like to know whether the services providers have infrastructure capability to support the 4G services. If proper infrastructures are not available, then the quality and speed of service is worst than 3.5G service.
Susan Fourtané   Consumer Tablets, 4G & the Enterprise   3/18/2012 8:01:37 AM
RE: Consumer Tablets, 4G & the Enterprise

It depends on what part of the world you are considering. In Europe fast Internet access is not costly. On the contrary, prices have been going down for the past years, especially in countries like Finland, where broadband Internet is a legal right. 

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