The five biggest worries about mobile data

Concerns about EV-DO, 3G that keep network executives up at night

Worry number 4: Standardization

Companies are moving toward standardization for mobile devices, but the rapid pace of technological change makes this goal difficult to achieve.

Most enterprises consolidate their laptop purchases and standardize on particular models and configurations. A growing number of companies standardize on particular handhelds, too, such as BlackBerries. But companies are still supporting a range of cell phone devices. Increasingly, companies are trying to adopt standard EV-DO or 3G cards for these cell phones.

One issue that makes standardization hard is how fast cellular technology is changing. By the time an IT department issues an RFP and chooses a configuration, it's outdated. "It's a challenge keeping up with the technology," iPass's DePaoli says. "The second you buy one of these 3G cards, there's a better technology coming out. That's the frustrating part for an organization. They get sold by the vision of a carrier, but then they get locked into a two-year contract."

The benefits of standardization include volume discounts for devices and lower help-desk support costs for common devices.

"The key thing that has slowed the growth of 3G a little bit is that 3G cards are always tied to carriers," DePaoli says. "You've got a three- to four-year lease cycle with your laptops. You don't want to embed a wireless card, which you're changing out every 12 to 18 months. So most people are using PCMCIA cards."

Another benefit of standardization is "simplification," Orange Business Services' DeMarco says. "For a global multinational, with offices and employees on the street in multiple countries, it becomes cumbersome and complex for the enterprise to go out and develop contracts and relationships with individual providers in each country to source mobile data cards."

It's still an outstanding question in the industry whether 3G cards will end up embedded in laptops and other mobile devices as has happened with Wi-Fi.

Fiberlink's Szafranski sees a shift toward USB-based 3G cards rather than PCMCIA cards. "The USB form factor seems to be working well as corporations are getting more and more users onto wide-area wireless," he says.

Still, what corporate customers want most is standard 3G cards that work in any country regardless of carrier. "You can standardize on a regional level, but everyone is looking for a global solution," Szafranski says. "The opportunity for Fiberlink is that whether the regions are different or the networks are different, the end users' screen looks the same. The security overlay, the compliance overlay -- all works the same."

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Carolyn Duffy Marsan

Network World
Show Comments

Essentials

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?