As your business begins to expand, the scope of the services that you must provide to guests and users will have to grow with it. One of the critical services that small businesses often struggle with providing is wireless network access.
At first glance, it may seem like businesses are reinventing the wheel with providing wireless network access. After all, you can buy a low-end wireless router for about $30 at your local computer hardware store. Couldn’t you just buy one, plug it in, and effectively extend your organization’s wireless infrastructure?
While going the cheap route may seem like a suitable solution, businesses can gain tremendous benefits by implementing an enterprise grade wireless network infrastructure. Before we go any deeper into this topic, let’s first look at what constitutes an enterprise wireless solution.
What is an Enterprise Wireless Access Point?
An enterprise wireless access point gives businesses the ability to rapidly deploy reliable wireless network technology that can be custom tailored to your network. Enterprise wireless solutions often give administrators the ability to provision extra access points seamlessly, when businesses decide to expand.
Enterprise wireless gives your business the ability to exert additional administrative capabilities that help you custom tailor your wireless access point deployment to meet the specific needs of your wireless users.
The Pros of Deploying to Enterprise Wireless
Businesses that embrace enterprise wireless will immediately gain the following benefits:
- Granularly restrict access to specific resources per individual access point
- Configure a guest registration page for WiFi access
- Restrict web access & filter malicious hosts
- The ability to enforce security standards, such as the presence of an antivirus client, before connecting the wireless network
- Get access to one web portal that controls the features, functionality, and reporting modules associated with your different access points
- Create deployment templates, which provide administrators with the ability to rapidly provision additional access points when more are needed
These benefits will ensure the security and scalability of the wireless networking services offered within your environment.
The Cons of Deploying Enterprise Wireless Networks
Can businesses expect any downsides when they implement an enterprise wireless solution? The potential cons that a business might face are:
- Cost – Enterprise wireless can be costly when compared to “Dumb” wireless routers.
- Expertise – A knowledgeable network technician may be required for the initial deployment.
- Complexity – How do you deploy wireless access points that meets your industry’s specific compliance standards?
None of these factors should be a deal breaker, however, you should consider them carefully before diving head first into an enterprise-wide WiFi deployment.
Planning Your Enterprise WiFi Deployment
Making the decision to switch to an enterprise WiFi product is only half the battle. Planning and installing enterprise grade wireless access points must be executed with a well thought out plan.
The easiest way to plan your enterprise WiFi deployment is to begin by asking some of the following questions:
- Who will be using the WiFi?
- What will they be using it for?
- Where will the access points reside in your building?
- When do you need this completed?
- Why is your company upgrading its wireless networking infrastructure?
- How will you execute this plan?
Now that we’ve identified the right questions, let’s dig a bit deeper into the motivations your business has behind building out an enterprise class WiFi network.
Who will be using the WiFi?
If you are deploying WiFi for end users with company issued equipment, the scope of the deployment scenario for your business may be smaller (or more robust) than those who setup a WiFi access point dedicated only to guests.
What will they be using it for?
Will your enterprise network be used for internet access, network file share access, line of business application access, et cetera? Think about the specific offerings that need to be available on each of the wireless access points that your business deploys.
Where will the access points reside in your building?
Determining where your access points actually reside can make a huge impact on the quality of your wireless network’s signal strength.
Best practices suggest that you install these access points in large, open areas that aren’t at risk for RF interference. Most businesses consider mounting their wireless access points on the ceiling, in order to provide the best signal quality possible.
When do you need this completed?
Ensure that you set aside an ample amount of time to research, deploy, test, and configure your wireless networking devices. By rushing through an enterprise wireless network deployment, your team could forget an integral component or functionality that could leave your network at risk.
Why is your company upgrading its wireless networking infrastructure?
Take out a sheet of paper and list the reasons as to why your business is thinking about upgrading the wireless network.
Next, list those reasons in order of importance starting with #1.
Viola, you’ve just created a list of priorities that your enterprise wireless networking solution must offer. With these key points in mind, you can begin evaluating which hardware works best for your company’s objectives.
How will your business execute this plan?
Consider all of the factors you probably aren’t thinking of right now. For example, will your company need to contract a wiring team to provide Ethernet cabling to your wireless access points?
When businesses install wireless access points in the ceiling, end users generally won’t have physical accessibility to the devices. However, for these access points to broadcast, they need Ethernet access to send data back to your switch.
In addition to a wiring team, think about the talent and expertise you’ll need bring in to ensure a successful deployment.
If your business is in desperate need of wireless network solutions, give us a call at (833) 482-6435 or schedule a consultation online to let us know what your business’ needs are. If you aren’t quite ready to talk yet, click the banner below to read a little more about our secure wireless solutions. We look forward to hearing from you!
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