Wearing the Web: Wearables and Your Network

The mobile market just got more complex – and that has big implications for customizing your network.

Mobile is already huge, with mobile web traffic doubling in 2013 and on Thanksgiving Day more people surfed the web from mobile devices than desktop devices.

Now, wearable computing is making headlines, turning science fiction into science fact. Wearable computing is exactly what it sounds like – computer technology that you wear. It’s not brand new, of course, but some of it is just making it into the mainstream.

The most popular devices at the moment are smart watches which let you:

  • Receive notifications that you’d normally look at on your smartphone or tablet, such as about calls and SMS messages.
  • Check what’s happening on Facebook.
  • Pair your smartwatch with your phone so you can answer phone calls.

But some of the latest devices, like the Samsung Gear S, include a 3G antenna so you don’t even need a phone to make calls.

Wearable Computing: Network Implications

What is this likely to mean for your network?

We already know about the bring your own device (BYOD) trend, where employees are using their own mobile devices to connect to your network and do work. With huge computing power on their wrists, this trend is likely to increase.

Over in the UK, some people are already preparing for an “internet capacity crunch” because of increased network access requests from mobile devices. We’ve seen that same trend with some of our customers. People are already using mobile devices for bandwidth-heavy applications like streaming video and video conferencing. More mobile access means the need for increased bandwidth as people connect at times that suit them. That trend is likely to continue.

Securing Your Network

But there’s more: as with BYOD, the greatest threat to your network is from users who don’t understand how to keep devices secure. Companies need to have policies in place for:

  • mobile access to your network
  • network and data security

They also have to educate employees so that securing company data, no matter what device they are using, becomes a habit.

Wearables aren’t going away. Some manufacturers have already started shipping smart clothing – and who knows what’s next?

It may take a while to feel the full effect, but it’s wise to prepare now to keep your network secure as wearables extend the mobile boom.

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