More and more business owners are investing in wireless technologies as they have come to realize its many advantages. With the increased prominence of wireless devices such as laptops, smartphones, and tablets, customers are more inclined to choose your business and pay for your products and services if you have complimentary Wi-Fi. Wireless connectivity also increases an employee’s productivity, flexibility, and accessibility. Installing a wireless connection within your enterprise can provide a number of benefits, but it is more complicated than your wireless home set-up. Here are 7 critical factors to consider as you prepare to go wireless.
Identify the Users
The first step in setting up a wireless network would be to identify its possible users. Are you setting it up to give visitors Internet access or do you just want to provide online connection for use of your workers? If both outsiders and employers need wireless, it may be advisable to establish 2 separate wireless local areas of networks in order to meet the needs of each.
Identifying the users should also include doing research on the number of customers or clients that the wireless network will service per day. It will also be helpful to do a quick survey of the types of online applications they will use, the mobility of the users while on the network, and the types and number of their devices. You can ask a staff to conduct interviews in person or just send out questionnaires to possible users.
Also consider smart wireless broadband software tools to help you manage your connections, upgrade your system, and optimize end-to-end network performance. The right kind of software will also help you in monitoring and reporting client details, connectivity trends, and history to allow you to meet the quality of service commitments needed by your customers.
Set Your Bandwidth and Coverage Goals
Because wireless networks are a shared bandwidth technology, you need to determine the number of simultaneous users as well as the type of data being transmitted. A packet analyzer may come in handy in calculating the amount of bandwidth required for your business.
You’ll also need to do a site assessment in order to determine the multiple access points to be placed throughout the premises. Small to medium-sized business require fewer than 24 access points. After finding out the number of required WLAN access points, you need to determine power requirements necessary to support these points. Repeaters or power injectors should be placed in strategic areas to prevent gaps in coverage. You can also determine which areas you don’t want to have access to the wireless network, such as the parking lot.
Deal with Interference Issues
Knowing your building material is also crucial in setting up your wireless network. Materials like cinder blocks, brick, rock walls, adobe, or stucco construction can affect the strength of your wireless signal. Materials that also hold water like pipes also tend to limit the range of the signal.
Since Wi-Fi is transmitted through radio signals, these transmissions can be greatly influenced by devices within the vicinity that are transmitting on the same frequency. These can include common electronic devices such as microwave ovens, cordless phones, and garage door openers. You may opt to set the wireless network to a different channel to avoid interference.
Conduct Feasibility Analysis
Before spending money to purchase and install the system, it would be wise to perform a feasibility analysis first. Identify the benefits, and determine whether the cost of the wireless system will benefit the company in the long run. Conducting inventory management and possible price markings would also help determine the efficiency and accuracy of the wireless network in relation to the costs savings and rapid returns of the enterprise’s investment.
Installation and Testing
After meeting the requirements and designing your wireless system, don’t install it just yet. It is a good idea to conduct a pilot program in order to test your network. Offer Wi-Fi access in a limited area to a limited group. This will enable you to identify possible issues such as security or usability problems. Your business will be saved from further embarrassment and income loss by addressing these problems first on a smaller scale.
Secure Your Network
One of the most common issues when it comes to wireless technology is security. Because wireless signal is transmitted over the air, the data transmitted becomes more vulnerable to interception. Keep your wireless network safe by including safeguards such as Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA) and WPA2. For an even stronger security posture, companies may opt to use two- factor authentication with the use of tokens or identification cards.
Hire Qualified IT Personnel
To ensure that your wireless system performs well, especially in the coming years, make sure to hire IT personnel that have the right knowledge and skills to manage, maintain, and troubleshoot WLAN related problems.
A wireless network can be a worthwhile investment to your company. To maximize its capabilities, it is important that you consider the system’s objectives, potential benefits, and possible limitations. If done right, a wireless deployment can help your business realize its full potential and ensure its success.