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UK corporates unconvinced by Wi-Fi

More than half have no plans to roll out WLANs

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UK IT managers have given wireless networking the thumbs-down. More than half of UK companies with a turnover of £50 million or more have said they have no plans to implement WLANs, according a survey of Britain's biggest companies.

The survey, conducted by market research agency Vanson Bourne on behalf of Cable & Wireless' network infrastructure services subsidiary, Allnet, shows that for all the hype surrounding Wi-Fi and wireless Internet access, big business isn't being taken in.

To date, only seven per cent of British businesses have rolled out WLANs "in a significant manner", while 21 per cent have pilot schemes in place and 16 per cent are planning to implement a WLAN in the future.

Some 56 per cent of respondents said Wi-Fi doesn't figure in their roll-out plans at all.

Allnet spins the survey as a sign that business simply can't see the benefits of wireless networking. UK companies have a "limited understanding" of Wi-Fi and a "lack of awareness" of its benefits, the company says.

More likely, UK IT managers appreciate that the cost in capital and time of implementing WLANs outweighs said benefits, particularly in times of stringent IT budget control.

Benefits there are from implementing Wi-Fi networks, to be sure, but they are all suspiciously unquantifiable. In a break from The Register's employ, this reporter found himself preparing WLAN promotional material for a well known, rather large network infrastructure products company, and even it couldn't provide a more compelling argument for the adoption of Wi-Fi than a line that boiled down to 'well, it's better, isn't it'.

Allnet has produced a whitepaper (PDF) which it hopes will convince the doubters.

The survey revealed that 48 per cent of respondents were not persuaded by the claims made for the advantages of wireless networks. More prosaically, 35 per cent had issues with the poor security offered by WLAN technology, and 32 per cent said they just didn't have the budget for it.

Vanson Bourne spoke to 50 IT managers from companies with turnovers between £50 million and £250 million, and 50 from firms with revenues in excess of £250 million. ®

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