Open Haus: Wi-Fi and Seamless Roaming for Mobile Workers

Laptop Mobile WorkWhen you hear the term “mobile worker,” what image comes to mind? Is it the employee who is constantly taking his laptop into different corners of the office, working from their desk, conference rooms and couches? Or is it the “road warrior” executive who works from airports, trains, cafés, hotels and anywhere else she can find a Wi-Fi or 3G/4G connection?

Whatever you picture, the fact is that mobility is now a key expectation of many employees. Those who work from laptops, tablets and other mobile devices need to be certain that the technology they depend on is able to follow them from place to place, without any service interruption.

As an example, remote workers often use a VPN to securely connect to their corporate network, no matter their location. But what happens if their network connection changes? Imagine an employee who works on her laptop while commuting by train, but constantly loses her Wi-Fi connection as she travels. You’d think that every time the network connection switches between Wi-Fi and 4G, she would need to log into her VPN. The employee would get frustrated and not be nearly as productive.

To avoid this scenario and others that impede mobile working, NCP engineering developed two key additions to its Remote Access VPN solution – Wi-Fi roaming and seamless roaming. With these features, the VPN tunnel connection is constantly maintained without disrupting the user’s computing session, even if their network connection changes.

Here’s how these two features enhance NCP engineering’s Remote Access VPN solution:

Wi-Fi Roaming

Say a remote worker moves within the range of several wireless access points using the same SSID. Without Wi-Fi roaming, the user would have to set up a new data connection and log into the gateway, again and again, to maintain the VPN connection.

But with NCP’s VPN Clients managing the network connection, the system roams access points within a company network as the user changes locations and IP addresses, and automatically chooses the strongest access point available. The applications that communicate via a tunnel do not even “notice” the access point roaming process, allowing for continuous, uninterrupted, secure remote access.

Seamless Roaming

Seamless roaming is the logical advancement from Wi-Fi roaming, in that it facilitates transitions when a user moves between different networks, not just within the same Wi-Fi area. With seamless roaming, the VPN client automatically selects the optimal connection medium, and then as devices move between Ethernet LAN, Wireless LAN (Wi-Fi) or cellular connections (3G and 4G), the user does not have to do any additional work to maintain the VPN connection.

This feature enables the user’s device to remain “always on,” without any disruption to the applications of the mobile telework station. It also enables the client to automatically change the communication medium during a session and to dynamically redirect the VPN tunnel, without the user noticing. This will be a very important feature in connected cars as they become more prominent.

Technology to Support Mobility

As workplaces become increasingly flexible and dispersed, technology to minimize interruptions to productivity must become more agile than ever before. With Wi-Fi and seamless roaming integrated into a company’s remote access solution, workers won’t have to choose between mobility and productivity.

<Open Haus is a monthly series that explores the key features of NCP’s Remote Access VPN>

Read More:

Why You Need a VPN that Supports Seamless Roaming

Want to learn more about securing M2M communications? Download our whitepaper “Managing Secure Communications in M2M Environments” to find out more.

Secure M2M Communication

In Managing Secure Communications in M2M Environments, we cover:

– How to choose a connection method that’s right for your application.
– How to configure end devices so they can perform authentication steps.
– How to manage VPN configurations and updates without human interaction.

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