The popularity of wireless devices is unprecedented. Laptops, tablets, and smartphones have quickly become standard tools in the common office worker’s daily arsenal. Small business owners, who previously may have been reluctant to join the wireless revolution, are now finding that the time is right to move to a wireless business model. Wireless networking technology is faster and more reliable than ever. It is also more affordable than ever, making this the perfect time for small business owners to consider the increased productivity they can gain from making the jump to a wireless network.
What Going Wireless Can Do For Your Business
Moving to a wireless local area network (WLAN) is about more than simply embracing the latest technology. Wireless networks help to make businesses and offices more flexible and more productive. Office staff are no longer tied to their desks, and can quickly move from warehouse to conference room without losing contact with your business’ sales force or manufacturing division. Interoffice communication never needs to wait for an available terminal, and employees can freely send and receive data and emails using their smartphones and laptops from anywhere within the office, while rushing between meetings, in consultation with clients, or while delivering an important presentation.
Now is the time for small business owners to consider installing a wireless network, and the following tips will help to make the transition simple and effective.
Consider Your Office Building
While wireless technology is better and more reliable than ever, it is still subject to physical laws. There are a few things to consider before beginning to purchase equipment for your wireless network.
- Are your offices open plan or are they comprised of isolated suites or multiple buildings?
- Is your office building built out of dense materials, such as brick, stone, or filled cinder-block? These can interfere with the strength of your wireless signal.
- Where are the water pipes and elevator shafts located? These too can have an impact on your wireless signal.
All of these can have an impact on signal strength, and will dictate the number of access points you will need to make your new wireless network fast, reliable and effective.
Access Points and Bandwidth
Once you have evaluated your office building you will have a better idea of how many access points will be needed. Be sure to purchase wireless devices that are designed for office use, such as Cisco Aironet devices. While access points for home use are less expensive, they are not designed for multiple deployment and will cause interference and drop outs between access points, making them unsuitable for an office scenario. This is also the time to consider your office’s bandwidth needs. Plan accordingly, and consider how much traffic your network will have to handle on a daily basis. Without adequate bandwidth, it will be impossible to reap the full benefits of your new wireless network.
Considering the number of access points your office requires, determine the power requirements needed to support them. Depending on the size of your business, and the layout of your offices, you may need to consider power injectors, which will eliminate the need for external AC/DC power supplies. Power injectors can be placed at 100 meter intervals, and will help to make your wireless network more dependable and more flexible.
Security is an important consideration for wireless networks, particularly when used in a business environment. Be sure to avoid out of date, or obsolete, security protocols. WPA (Wi-Fi Protected Access) and WPA2 currently offer the best protection against hackers trying to jump onto a wireless network. To ensure the greatest protection for your network, be sure each access point is configured using the strongest AES 256 bit encryption standards.
By switching to a wireless network, small business owners can not only make their offices and employees more productive today, they can lay the groundwork for future expansion. Wireless networks can be easily upgraded and expanded to meet the needs of a growing business, all at a cost that keeps businesses competitive in a crowded marketplace. Installing a wireless network makes sense for small businesses today, because it makes sense for small businesses in the future.