Most people enjoy access to Wi-Fi in their homes, and they also expect it to also be available when they travel, shop, and work. The standard today is that we should be able to connect almost anywhere; we’ve all taken advantage of networks at restaurants, airports, hotels, etc. As customers, we can enjoy that the advancement of Wi-Fi technology now allows us the luxury of connecting anywhere, but as business owners, we have to acknowledge: wireless connections have become an integrated (and often assumed) part of doing business.
So, as a business owner, you know you need to provide Wi-Fi, but how exactly do you do that? Well, it’s important to note that the Wi-Fi technology used in the home is not suitable for the workplace. Seems plausible, but why? Although most Wi-Fi products generally work the same (this device will connect to this network), there are small, important differences between wireless products designed for enterprise and personal use. Understanding these differences is especially important for small or medium size business (SMB) owners. The price of your home router or AP probably seems like an attractive option, especially if you think your business isn’t “that big,” but chances are, your business needs enterprise class Wi-Fi.
The term “enterprise class” carries with it some important features and options every business should consider:
- Support for mobility: Think about your business. There are probably employees who spend most of the day at their desks, but there are probably many others who roam between different parts of the building as part of their work tasks and communication. The average home access point (AP) provides Wi-Fi coverage to about 6500 square feet. So, if your business has multiple floors, outdoor areas, or simply spans larger than those 6500 square feet, you would need multiple APs. Unfortunately, when users roam from AP to AP, their wireless connection is often dropped or delayed, which causes apps to pause, stop working, refresh, etc, ultimately causing delays for your workforce.
- Security: It’s common knowledge that Wi-Fi networks should be secured to prevent information from being stolen and uninvited guests from using your wireless connection. At home, your AP offers encryption options and perhaps user authentication as well. Do you think this is enough for your business? A couple well known national home improvement and retail chains would join us in saying “No!” They’ve been victims of hackers, who find their way into networks through holes in security. Enterprise class Wi-Fi eliminates these holes by supporting different security options for the variety of client devices using your network and by offering intrusion detection, which proves you with information when unauthorized users do attempt to compromise your data.
- Guest Access: Wi-Fi is crucial for your employees and business processes, but it’s also come to be expected by your customers. Sharing some of your bandwidth is one of the greatest ways to increase the amount of time a customer spends in your store and a sure way to improve the customer experience. Enterprise class Wi-Fi not only supports the added users, but it also separates guest traffic from business traffic, keeping speeds up and security threats down.
These are just a few examples of the difference in Enterprise Class Wi-Fi. And although most SMB owners can agree they are important, the decision to choose an enterprise solution often comes down to price. Informs partners with Zebra Technologies to offer an option specifically for this concern. WiNG Express is a new solution that provides the same enterprise-level technology at a price and scale made for SMB owners.
Does WiNG sound like it might be what your business needs? Did you know about all the benefits that enterprise class Wi-Fi provides? What other concerns do you as a SMB (or not so SMB) owner have about implementing a wireless solution?