Wi-Fi systems have become an essential part of any business. They're not just for the home anymore; they're also used in offices, restaurants, and even retail stores. Being connected is essential in the communication of any organization, both internally and externally. Today, this is why Wi-Fi plays an important role in the execution of functions in a company and more so if it is directly related to the digital and technological environment.
It's not a question of whether Wi-Fi is important for small businesses; it's a question of when. Here's the problem we see small business owners running into frequently: the expectation that the wi-fi we're used to connecting to in our homes, on our laptops, or streaming Netflix, isn't nearly strong enough to handle your business requirements.
Home networks just aren't designed to handle large amounts of data, or traffic. It also doesn't require the same levels of network protection, and is not under risk of attack like a business Wi-Fi connection.
In the early startup days of a business, a home network Wi-Fi solution often worked and was economical enough, albeit risky. However, the time comes quickly when most businesses should consider adopting enterprise level wireless networking solutions.
Fast, stable and secured business-level wireless networks are critical to the function of small business teams and can improve productivity and flexibility for employees as well as your organization's visitors. Especially since the vast majority of companies allow their staff to bring their own personal devices from home (cells and laptops) to use on their company network.
What is Enterprise-Grade Wi-Fi?
So what exactly is Enterprise-Grade Wi-Fi? This is a type of network connection that offers greater safety, interoperability, and accessibility provided, rather than something like your own personal Wi‑Fi system. Essentially, an enterprise-level Wi-Fi network can connect more users, is much more secure, and offers greater scalability and customization.
Let's take a look at 5 reasons why your business should adopt enterprise-grade Wi-Fi.
5 Reasons Why Your Business Needs Enterprise-Grade Wi-Fi
1. Speed and Reliability
A network can only handle so many simultaneous connections before its performance starts to degrade. Since most homes use a single Internet connection, their networks tend to be slower than business networks. Additionally, because they're sharing one Internet connection, the speed of their networks tends to decrease as more people connect to them
Your organization may also work with applications that require a constant internet connection, like Microsoft 365/Microsoft Outlook email, or cloud-based drives where large files need to be moved online such as Google Drive, One Drive or Dropbox. These applications require that you stay connected to the network even when running in the background and can require a huge amount of bandwidth. The more users you have connecting to these applications, the larger the demand on bandwidth. And the poorer the strength of your Wi-Fi, the longer the time it takes to transfer files or execute application actions.
Conversely, an organization-wide Wi-Fi network is intended to provide fast and reliable connectivity for all employees and guests so that they don't experience any downtime or lag time during their working hours.
2. Larger Coverage & Stronger Signal
It's important for larger office environments to adopt wireless technologies that cover the entire floor space. Many business owners believe that using high-powered routers will suffice, but it's actually far more effective to install multiple low-powered devices within an enterprise-level Wi-Fi network. Limited signal strength can be difficult to extend across distance.
Instead, an organization may deploy its own wireless network infrastructure with multiple integrated access points (IAPs) for effective deployment and maximum signal coverage. With multi-point capabilities, your business network will be much stronger than one high-powered router consumer product.
A similar issue in office spaces can be extending coverage through concrete walls. Quite often the walls in these older buildings are thick enough that they block outside signals from getting through. Pairing several connection points with boosted connections at the enterprise-Wi-Fi level will supply a stronger signal in older buildings.
3. Enhanced Network Security
Imagine someone sitting in your office next to you watching everything you and your employees do or say or look at on your laptop, your drives, the internet, your network. Except they're doing it without anyone knowing about it. Almost every business keeps confidential information based on your transactions with clients or partners.
To protect against unauthorized network attacks, businesses must be aware of and implement additional security measures than they take using Wi-Fi at home. The risks are higher and the fallout is much more devastating to have your small business fall victim to a cyber attack.
There are various encryption methods used by enterprises for their wireless networks that offered improved and enhanced security for your business. This includes advanced security features such as intrusion detection, specialized technologies such as adaptive radio management (ARM), increased WPA enterprise encryption, and the 802.1x authentication protocol.
Enterprise Wi-Fi lets you set up guest accounts for people who don’t need full network privileges. The result of this can enhance your network security as these guests can be granted limited or no network privileges so they can’t get into your company’s sensitive data.
4. Poor Wi-Fi Can Impact Business Prospects
When poor signal occurs in the office, it can lead to a whole range of consequences
Businesses don't stay stagnant. When things change, people need to know right away so they can adapt their plans accordingly.
The most common way that this happens is through email. If you have an email account at your business, then you are probably already familiar with how emails work. You send them out and wait for replies. But what if you receive no reply from that hot lead? What if you get one but the attachment can't come through? How do you know whether or not your message was received?
Even worse: We’ve all been there: you’re trying to make a sales presentation over video conference (Zoom, Webex, GoToMeeting) and your internet is painfully slow. You can hear the other person breathing down the line as they wait for their screen to load. It feels like an eternity before they even get to see what you’re showing them. Now imagine this is your business, on a prospect call.
Poor connectivity reflects poorly. For a business - it can make or break the sale. As one client shared with us, a slow internet connection on one important cross-country Zoom call with a new client cost them the pitch - and $30k in revenue.
An ability to securely access the Internet or to intranet systems from any location, at any time, allows your business will be able to continue operating without costly interruptions.
5. Wi-Fi Problems Lead To Poor Customer Service
If your customers expect you to provide them with wireless internet access, having a poor experience on the internet can be a poor experience as your customer. Keeping your customers happy means providing them with the quality of service that they expect from you, including your Wi-Fi.
Social Beauty Studios for example, a Calgary-based salon suite rental complex, needed to provide their stylist and esthetician tenants with wireless internet access that will make their customers happy. When they contacted Transpera to propose a solution, we recommended and installed a mesh Wi-Fi network at The Hub Calgary that ensured that every beauty studio suite was close to an access point. Each access point being capable of handling more than the maximum occupancy near to it made sure that the wireless internet is as stable and fast as a plugged-in wired computer.
How to Upgrade to Enterprise-Grade Wi-Fi
If you've decided that you want to upgrade your Wi-Fi system to an enterprise-level solution, the best thing to do is to consult with your local IT service company. You will need to find an IT Company in your city as they may need to come for an initial site survey, and again for installation or troubleshooting in the future.
A good IT Service Provider will walk you through the process, listen well to learn about your business needs, network issues and budget, and they will offer their expertise in suggesting solutions to help you meet your objectives. This includes:
- Reviewing and analyzing your office layout, followed by a site visit to determine the optimum number and placement of access points
- Recommend, install, and configure hardware needed with any additional options you have discussed and agreed upon
- Provide needed technical expertise to troubleshoot issues and test the system
- Evaluate the results of your implementation and provide suggestions for improvements down the line or as technology changes.