As wireless LANs (WLANs) are increasingly used to deliver primary enterprise network access, the stakes have never been higher. Enterprises cannot tolerate mysterious break-ins, slow-downs or outages in their WLANs. Fortunately, WLAN analysis and testing tools can be used to assess security, troubleshoot failures and optimize performance. For VARs and systems integrators, offering WLAN analysis and assessment can offer a plethora of new revenue opportunities.
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WLAN security services are still top dog
Built-in WLAN security features may have improved, but authentication and encryption are not enough. Now more than ever, businesses must find and fix wireless weaknesses, demonstrate the effectiveness of security controls, monitor the airwaves for suspicious activities, quickly react to suspected breaches and document incidents and responses for compliance reporting purposes. For VARs and systems integrators, this can mean:
- Delivering WLAN surveillance and compliance reporting as a managed service
- Reselling centralized WLAN security assessment tools that can scan networks from afar
- Leveraging automated WLAN penetration test tools to identify blind spots before auditors do
WLAN outages are expensive
Downtime must be minimized – preferably avoided – in today's increasingly large and diverse mission-critical enterprise WLANs. Businesses can no longer afford best-effort availability and labor-intensive troubleshooting by RF experts. VARs will find that customers are often willing to invest in tools that cut costs and speed resolution time:
- Easier-to-use remote troubleshooting tools that enable helpdesk triage
- Proactive diagnostic test tools to spot problems before users are impacted
- Upscale WLAN infrastructure and upgrades for AP-based spectrum analysis
Optimization pays for itself
In a lightly-used WLAN, there is often bandwidth to spare – especially in those built on 802.11n. In the near-term, optimization tools may be a tough sell. But as user density and application demands grow, customer attention will be drawn to design flaws and traffic bottlenecks. VARs and systems integrators who plan ahead can benefit from this by:
- Investing in tools that efficiently predict application performance in meaningful terms
- Leveraging those tools to offer WLAN upgrade and application readiness services
- Reselling WLAN products that can monitor real-time performance to meet SLAs
In the long run, good WLAN test tools and methods tend to pay for themselves. SMBs may be more inclined to purchase centralized WLAN analysis and testing services from knowledgeable providers who have already invested in tools and training. Larger enterprises may be more likely to buy integrated and mobile test tools from VARs and systems integrators. Either way, these new tools could generate many revenue opportunities for WLAN channel partners.