How Many Devices Use Your Wi-Fi?
It used to be that only laptop computers connected to your Wi-Fi, but that is no longer the case. With the rise of portable devices such as smartphones, tablets, and streaming sticks, each person may be using your Wi-Fi from several devices, thus multiplying the number of users on the network. Consumer-grade hardware is designed for just a few people (like the amount that live in a single household) but can’t manage larger amounts of users and all of their devices. This is especially true for sustained usage. Remember that your employees aren’t the only people who expect to be able to connect to your Wi-Fi. One of the first things visitors typically do is look for a Wi-Fi network to connect their smartphones to, so providing wireless Internet to your customers is important.
What Is the Size and Shape of Your Workspace?
The number of access points you will need for your Wi-Fi is dependent on the amount of physical space that needs to be covered, the shape of the area, wall material, and the number of users/devices. In smaller spaces, consumer-grade Wi-Fi might be good enough. Larger, oddly shaped spaces benefit from commercial hardware. If your building’s walls are made of brick, cinder blocks, or cement, you likely need more access points than buildings made of other materials. Make sure you have a strong connection from all locations. It’s annoying to only be connected to Wi-Fi in certain areas of a building and find yourself in a deadzone a few steps later.
Access points for commercial Wi-Fi tend to be more powerful and flexible. For example, some business Wi-Fi systems can transfer connected devices from a crowded access point to one that is less busy. By doing this, everybody’s fast speed remains. If you foresee your range needing to increase, such as renting out more space, it’s easier to add more access points to commercial Wi-Fi than consumer-grade. Businesses that anticipate scaling up soon are better off with commercial Wi-Fi.
Do You Want Guests to Have the Same Quality Wi-Fi As Workers?
In households, where consumer-grade Wi-Fi is prevalent, all users share the Wi-Fi equally. In a home environment, if children are slowing down the Internet with Netflix or video games, it’s not a big problem. However, a choked business Wi-Fi network can cause a lot of problems. Commercial Wi-Fi allows you manage the network. You can assign a designated amount of bandwidth to different users so they’re unable to clog the entire connection. You can also allow visitors Internet access without giving them unlimited access to the network, a key security feature. You can also apply various filter options to both employees and guests with a firewall appliance to help keep your network secure and free from malware.
How Much Does the Internet Affect Your Employees’ Productivity?
For some companies, workers only use Wi-Fi for a few quick tasks. With these types of businesses, if the Internet is slow, it won’t have a big impact on how much work your employees get done. For other companies, there isn’t much people can accomplish if the Wi-Fi isn’t working well. The slower your employees work, the less money you make. Wi-Fi troubles can also lead to frustrated, unhappy workers, again hampering productivity and employee morale. If fast Internet is essential for people to complete their daily tasks, commercial Wi-Fi is important.
Strong Wi-Fi is a necessity for all businesses. This is especially true for larger businesses that connect a lot of devices (from both employees and visitors) and have a big work area. It is equally important for those where employee productivity depends on a strong connection. The goal is to keep your business-critical technology running smoothly. Consider carefully whether consumer-grade Wi-Fi or commercial Wi-Fi is the best choice for your business. When you ask yourself the questions above, the answer should become clear.
Is your business’s Wi-Fi struggling? Give us a call at 715-255-0325 to discuss a solution.