When wired networks were the only option to access the internet, office floors were nothing but a mess of cords and cables that were accidents waiting to happen. Fast forward to today, and you’ll find more and more enterprises moving to wireless networks -- and not just because of the tripping hazards, of course.
Transitioning to wireless wasn’t always smooth, however. Some businesses initially had reservations about wireless equipment because of speed and security concerns. And although such concerns may have been valid during it’s infancy, wireless networks have come a long way, having dramatically improved in security, speed, and reliability.
As long as you've installed modernized hardware and protocols, the difference in speed between wireless and wired is rarely a concern. In fact, today’s 802.11 wireless standards are getting faster and more capable of running high-speed applications like Office 365, online videos, and VoIP systems. The 802.11n network adapter, for instance, can provide maximum speeds of up to 600 Mbps, which are more than enough to meet the network demands of most small- to medium-sized businesses.
For companies that need a bit more oomph in internet performance because they plan to use bandwidth-intensive functions like live video-streaming or big downloads, 802.11ac can theoretically perform at speeds faster than 1 Gigabit per second, totally surpassing Ethernet capacities. Considering the rate at which Wi-Fi networks are evolving, the lack of speed is rapidly becoming a non-issue for businesses unsure about deploying a wireless network.
Increased mobility is by far the biggest reason why companies have migrated to wireless networks. As you’re probably well aware by now, most devices are portable, not fixed to a desk. These devices can move room-to-room and -- if required -- go to work with their owners. With a slew of smart devices being used everyday, it’s vital that companies make the most out of them. By giving employees and their personal devices untethered and up-to-the-minute access to company documents, emails, and other applications, business can be conducted anywhere, regardless of whether team members are in the same room, or even the same floor.
The true power of wireless mobility is realized when combined with cloud and VoIP services. For starters, you get access to productivity-boosting cloud applications no matter where you are in the office. Secondly, VoIP systems allow you to freely redirect calls to desktops, mobiles, or VoIP-specific hardware for low-budget calls that won't suffer any drops in quality.
Cost-effective and scalable
Speaking of budget, this tends to be the deciding factor for most businesses planning to move to wireless networks. Although Ethernet hardware and cables are not very expensive, the cost for cabling installation ranges $150-200 per installation. If you plan to aggressively expand your business’s network, both in terms of office area and employees, expect to see a larger installation bill after the service. Don’t forget you’ll have to factor in additional maintenance costs to ensure that wires don’t get frayed.
With wireless networks, initial setup costs -- usually starting at around $299 -- may seem high, but installation is substantially easier, and maintenance costs are much lower than their wired counterparts. Scaling up with your wireless network is also as straightforward as updating the server and issuing a password to a new user. To put it bluntly, a Wi-Fi setup guarantees fewer headaches and smaller bank-breaking fees for your business.
The security of wireless networks is also a big concern for businesses thinking of deploying them. One of the ways hackers can threaten your business is by intercepting data in transit using a long-range antenna from a nearby location.
Although many argue that wired connections are more difficult to hack since attackers need physical access to your network, if you use WPA encryption and strong passwords -- not “password” or “123456” -- on your network, there is virtually no difference in security; both are equally impervious to attacks. Some data are, of course, more valuable than others. In these cases, Wi-Fi vendors incorporate several security features that can identify unauthorized access to networks and prevent common exploit attempts.
It’s 2016, and if you’re business hasn’t moved to a wireless network, then you have a lot of catching up to do. You only have to walk outside and see the waves of people looking at their smartphones to notice that the wireless trend has already taken over. But with the right wireless network provider, you can unshackle your business from a wired network and quickly get up-to-speed with the competition.
It’s never too late to witness the benefits of wireless networks for yourself. With PC LAN Techs, you gain access to cutting-edge wireless network technologies. And if you’re worried about setup, don’t. From access point installations, maintenance, to security management, we facilitate everything about your wireless network and give you tools that you need to prevent your business from falling behind. Call us today to find out more.