Why it’s time to embrace ‘business class’ WiFi networks

Wireless devices have taken over the workplace. From laptops to phones and tablets, their numbers are increasing all the time and they’re all looking for connectivity.

Yet despite this, a large number of UK businesses and organisations are still lagging behind when it comes to developing robust infrastructure and a reliable, secure, Wi-Fi service.

Many small businesses in particular still take the approach of contracting with wireless broadband Internet Service Providers (ISPs) whose packages are intended to be used by individual consumers.

There’s a number of issues with this approach. For starters, the internet speeds provided might not be up to the job. However, following investment in full fibre to the premise infrastructure across much of the UK, this is becoming less of an issue.

Difficulties are more likely to be encountered when it comes to the reliability of coverage within the business environment itself and challenges associated with achieving the tailored network configuration typically required by companies.

WiFi networks intended for the consumer usually focus on simple set-ups and the delivery of broadband to the door only, with little support for configuration.

In this blog, we look at some of the specific considerations needed when creating ‘business class’ networks.

The changing workspace and network requirements

The workplace was once much simpler. You had your desktop machine connected to the server, corporate network and the internet via an ethernet cable. People had laptops and they too had to be wired into the office cabling if you had any serious work to do. Then came Wi-Fi and broadband and you could use your laptop on a wireless network so long as you didn’t stray too far from the one wireless router. Now many offices have moved across to an all wireless set up. People must be able to take their connected device into a meeting room or another office without losing their session.

It’s not just the main office either. While the Wi-Fi there might be OK it’s often not where all the work goes on in modern organisations. People have informal meetings throughout a building, from the reception area to the dining room. With the trend to build open spaces into many new office developments people might also have meetings outside. An incomplete office Wi-Fi network will mean that people are restricted to formal meeting areas and this, in turn, can impact on productivity. For organisations with multiple branch offices, it is also important to keep Wi-Fi connectivity consistent across locations. All these elements should be considered when selecting WiFi services and contemplating set-up.

Network security is also another major area for consideration. Businesses are responsible for the network they provide and it’s important to prevent both staff and visitors from putting themselves at unnecessary risk by building a secure Wi-Fi network within your building or campus environment. Again, this requires specific considerations and configurations not typically provided as default by ISP packages intended for the consumer. It is also important when considering Bring-Your-Own-Device (BYOD) users, whose devices may pose a greater security risk. Implementing an Identity and Access Management (IAM) policy for example, which limits the access certain users have, will help further boost security.

A ‘business class’ approach

The set-up of a WiFi network in a business environment requires significantly more thought than a home network. From considering reliability and coverage levels across a wider area to determining how the network itself is set-up requires careful management.

If you’re looking for support in developing a tailored WiFi network for your business contact the team here at Curve IT.