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Control the client vs control the traffic – the iPhone points to an expensive inflection point

Client issues still plague enterprise WLANs and a host of other network problems. Client devices are wonky, built on razor thin margins, and can proliferate widely with few controls. IDC’s VP of Security research, Chris Christiansen calls this problem “managing the unmanageble.”

The ability for a network owner of any sort to control a client is on a long downhill slide. (Play tape of explosion in the Internet of Things, BYO PCs, etc) Fortunately, the ability for a network owner to monitor, shape, and control the traffic on the network is rising as the cost of cracking a packet declines. The problem is we won’t get there fast enough – especially at the edge of the network.

As evidenced by the outrage in this Techcrunch post on Apple and AT&T’s struggles handling the incredible traffic generated by iPhones, we are currently facing a bit of a nasty inflection point. Devices are now officially too hard to control, while it is still too expensive to apply the level of intelligence in the network needed to let go.

Your thoughts?

* Hacking the iPhone has a long history and while I was the first to point out it was an issue (horn toot), I’m wondering if any iPhone app developers have been asked to change their app based on the type of and volume of network traffic the app generates. Bueller?

Posted in IDC, Networks.

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