Business use of wireless networking will push up the total cost of ownership (TCO) of notebooks by three or four per cent, analysts have warned.
By 2005 almost 80 per cent of all commercial notebooks sold will have wireless functionality, according to analyst Gartner. And to keep costs down it has recommended that businesses follow best practices when developing a Wi-Fi policy.
Leslie Fiering, research vice-president of Gartner, said rapid end-user adoption is occurring, with or without the consent of enterprises.
This is happening because the arguments in favour of quick, easy connections to the internet or corporate network are too compelling to ignore.
But Fiering warned: "Enterprises need to understand the cost elements of using Wi-Fi in notebooks so they can budget realistically and apply best practices to manage the TCO."
Fiering claimed that Windows XP tends to have a lower TCO for Wi-Fi because of its easier connection set-up, ability to detect Wi-Fi access points and greater robustness than Windows 2000.
"The result is fewer calls to the service desk, lower end-user operations costs and less downtime," he said.
Shaun Frohlich, executive chairman at Acer reseller Teksys, said about 70 per cent of the reseller's laptop sales include wireless functionality.
"Our education and big business customers are taking it up because of campus environments and nomadic workers respectively." He added that SME businesses are slower to adopt the technology.
"Security policies must be set because when remote workers connect to the corporate LAN it can cause problems," he said.
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