Wireless networking is increasingly popular for businesses of all sizes, but for organizations looking to make the switch, it can be costly. Businesses can and do benefit from wireless networks, but this usually means upgrading and changing infrastructure including servers across your organization.
Depending on the size of your company, total data load, and actual physical distance, this will represent different challenges, costs, and benefits.
Understanding where wireless networking will pay off for your organization will help you make better decisions regarding budget, total cost, and how you will see a return on value.
The following business benefits of wireless networking will apply to most organizations, however, yours may see slightly different results depending on factors like business size and actual network usage.
Wireless networks are significantly faster and cheaper to install than wired networks, simply because they don’t require cabling.
This is important, especially in rental buildings that don’t have cabling laid out, because you can install network architecture without extensive remodeling of the building.
Ease of installation is also reflected in setup time, with most wireless networks going up within a day, where wired networks are heavily dependent on existing cables or time to lay new cables.
In the short-term, this reduces the total cost and time of a new network installation. It also reduces potential cabling issues, because you won’t have to upgrade or replace expensive network cables at any point.
In the long-term, it means more flexible installation and upgrade options, because supporting more devices or a higher-bandwidth usage typically means installing more Wireless LANS. This is hugely advantageous over expanding a wired network, which typically requires extensive network reconfiguration to support growth.
Wired networks allow individuals to reliably access networks from specific locations. Wireless networks allow individuals to access them from any point where they can connect to the network. This means that individuals can pick up laptops and move to meeting rooms or lunch without losing access to private networks, pausing what they are doing, or losing access to files.
This is pertinent for any organization that uses network resources, especially on private networks. For example, email, documents, server files, and other business resources. Offering wireless private network, especially through VPN or virtual computer offers employees a very secure but flexible way to access your network from anywhere. With a VPN, they can even do so from a home or remote office.
Upgrading to wireless networking means benefiting from wireless networking tools, including server and network management, load management, and remote device management.
Each of these solutions can greatly decrease maintenance time and problems, because IT can remote manage, remote reconfigure server loads, and automatically reconfigure wireless networks to meet load and usage throughout periods and to meet peak load.
Wireless tooling can be hugely advantageous for IT, which will reduce the total time they invest on maintaining networks. However, wireless networks do come with their own problems, including potential lag or connectivity issues through walls, which may add to the complexity of maintenance as well.
Ensuring everyone always has access to your network means that teams can share files and updates in real-time, even in meetings and conference rooms. Rather than having to access computers in a room, users can simply bring their own devices, immediately access files, and immediately push files and decisions out to teams in a meeting.
Here, wireless networking ties into cloud access, because it’s essentially giving employees cloud access to your servers. This may be a true cloud, with virtual servers online, or might simply be wireless access to servers, file-storage, and company resources.
Instant data-sharing also applies to aspects of business that don’t necessarily involve files. For example, people can check stock or inventory levels, can look up pricing, or can make other sales decisions while in remote locations, on call, or in meetings.
It can be impractical to install cabled networks to a basement, warehouse, or other remote area, but it’s relatively effortless to do so with wireless networks. This affords organizations more opportunities to benefit from their network, such as integrating live scanning services into inventory management, adding live updates to remote digital signage, or adding GPS tracking to delivery vehicles or taxi.
While opportunities very much depend on the organization and its operations, many can immensely benefit from adding wireless networking.
Wired networking often does not offer security or control issues, where wireless networking typically has it built in. Enterprise-level network management includes user management, security tools, website blocking, and even temporary guest passwords and access, allowing individual access in different contexts.
For example, a wireless network will likely allow you to create client-server access to specific files and folders without offering access to everything. Similarly, you can create temporary access passes for guests such as temporary workers, freelancers, or one-day visitors from another office. This improves total network security, allowing you to manage who is on the network, why, and what they are doing.
Wireless networks don’t make sense for every organization. For example, if your organization transfers very large quantities of data, it might be best to remain on a faster cable system. You also want to ensure that your building is not in an area where network signal might be affected by nearby radio signal, that walls are not too thick and won’t block signal, and that you don’t have any dead-zone areas in your building. You can typically establish this with a quick inspection of the building. However, most businesses will not have these problems.
Wireless networks are increasingly efficient, affordable, and capable. Most organizations can install and maintain wireless networks at less than the cost of wired, typically with comparable performance. This is especially true as more organizations move to cloud, virtual computer, and virtual private network solutions. Adding wireless networking as a default adds to convenience, network flexibility, and user access control, all of which benefit your business.
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