When it comes to managed WiFi solutions, many companies outsource IT management to third party providers and with good reason: it costs less than what it would to maintain internal IT staff. Workplace WiFi is just as critical to daily operations as IT, so why don’t more companies opt for a managed WiFi solutions? They don’t know that it’s an option.
Less than 10 years ago, a managed WiFi solution was unheard of. Most offices simply placed a $50 wireless router in their IT closet at the demarcation point for their Internet service and called it a day. The WiFi service was horrible, but that didn’t matter much. The majority of offices still used DSL and either couldn’t afford high-speed Internet or simply didn’t need it. Cell phones were just getting smart, “Bring Your Own Device” hadn’t yet entered the lexicon and all computers required hard-wired Internet. Thinking back to those primitive days sends shivers down this writer’s spine.
Luckily, times have changed. Today, high speed Internet is very affordable, most devices don’t even feature Ethernet ports and the way people work has evolved in turn. Businesses can no longer get away with providing subpar WiFi, as most operations rely on high speed wireless service. Even the way WiFi is delivered has evolved.A $50 router won’t cut it—today, most offices require a managed WiFi solution.
Your IT Provider Can’t Deliver a Managed WiFi Solution!
Your love your IT provider. They know how to service your desktops, laptops and even the software that your business uses on a daily basis. Think they can handle the WiFi as well? Think again.
As skilled as your IT team may be, IT training and certifications generally don’t cover WiFi and wireless networking. That’s why you don’t typically see much overlap between traditional help desk IT personnel and wireless network engineers. This lack of training is apparent to any business owner who has made the mistake of asking their existing IT team to devise a managed WiFi solution.
If you haven’t made this mistake, here’s what happens: in addition to all other responsibilities, the IT department is now tasked with improving the office WiFi. Often, they are given a budget to build a managed WiFi solution. IT staff purchase the most affordable enterprise grade wireless access points they can find and they purchase a lot of them. Prioritizing quantity over quality is their first misstep, but we’ll cover this later. The IT department runs Ethernet cables, mounts access points and creates a custom network name.
This is when the problems start.
Employees can’t connect to the WiFi. If they do connect, they have trouble accessing simple websites. Users roam around the office and experience connections of varying degrees of weakness, even when they’re sitting right below an access point. The IT department makes a few changes, but the changes only make things worse.
Don’t let this happen to you. Leave IT management to your trusted IT team and leave WiFi management to a dedicated managed WiFi provider.
Top 8 Reasons Your Business Needs a Managed WiFi Provider
1. A managed WiFi solution is cost-effective
Enterprise grade WiFi equipment is expensive, and even more so for those using it improperly. Cut the cost of your managed WiFi solution by placing it in the care of professionals. After all, leaving WiFi to your ill-equipped IT department will only require you to enlist the help of a third party provider to assess, fix and maybe even replace your current system. For example, enterprise WiFi typically requires annual licensing and support. If your IT provider doesn’t understand the manufacturer’s requirements or just chooses to ignore them, you may face the added expense of trying to reinstate services for access points that have been turned off due to missed payments.
Cost of ownership is transparent and significantly decreased when you outsource to a third party managed WiFi provider. In-depth industry knowledge enables a managed WiFi provider to offer the best pricing for long-term licenses and support and other cost-effective options that your IT team just may not be aware of.
2. Operate at peak productivity with a managed WiFi solution
Properly installing and maintaining a WiFi system is like cleaning: when you do it, no one notices. When you don’t, it’s quite obvious. Indeed, a bungled managed WiFi solution not only costs hundreds to correct, but inhibits revenue generation. Not being able to connect to the Internet hinders your entire team and requires hours of third party support and planning across multiple internal departments in order to fix issues that might be relatively simple for a specialist to resolve.
Trusting a company like, Made By WiFi, to deliver a managed WiFi solution will free up your operations team as well as your IT personnel to focus on other pressing business matters. You’ll find that when the WiFi works, employees follow suit.
3. Increase security over your internal network
You’ve read the headlines. External and internal data leaks regularly devastate the most successful businesses. Very often, these leaks are due to poor, or even non-existent, security configurations. Many fail to realize that network security goes far beyond assigning logins and providing access to authorized users. There are a myriad of configuration options within the network that can separate user traffic from other functions. You just need the right equipment and the right team.
Selecting the proper switches, gateways, controllers and access points is just as important to the configuration of your managed WiFi system as their application. This is why a competent managed WiFi provider begins the installation process with an in-depth discovery phase. Made By WiFi learns how clients use wireless networks as well as which users need access to particular functions before we engineer managed WiFi solutions to meet specific needs.
4. Achieve full transparency with in-depth monitoring and reporting
We get to know you and our managed WiFi solution helps you get to know your network’s users. Access detailed reports on-demand and glean insight into your network utilization, uplink performance and other metrics that empower you to make more informed decisions on business operations.
Unlike older wireless equipment, new enterprise grade systems allow you to manage all of your access points from a single controller. This is incredibly useful as your managed WiFi provider can oversee the wireless performance at all of your business locations from a single, easy-to-read interface. Additional network management tools, like firewalls and gateway controllers, allow for even deeper reporting. Gain a better understanding of which business applications and users consume the most bandwidth. Even evaluate the overall performance of your Internet service provider. Perhaps you don’t have enough bandwidth or maybe you’re paying for too much. Most traditional IT providers don’t really know how to determine this, but a managed WiFi provider, like Made By WiFi, has the tools and knowledge to figure it out.
5. Scale successfully as your business grows
If you’re reading this, you recognize a need to adapt to shifting times and technology and you’re looking to take the most cost-effective, efficient route. You’re a savvy business owner, expect to expand. As you open and staff new offices, you’ll need new technology like desktops, phones and wireless network infrastructure. It used to be that you had to purchase completely separate systems as you couldn’t control two or more locations through the same interface, but now you can. Managed WiFi solutions typically include access points that can be regulated by a unified management system. Enterprise grade wireless manufacturers, like Ruckus Wireless or Aerohive, offer license-based cloud and onsite controllers that can manage hundreds of access points through a single interface, from anywhere in the world.
Your managed WiFi provider will be able to group your access points by location and can apply unique policies to each based on the requirements of that office. There are no hidden costs and you can easily budget for years ahead, without spending much time on logistics.
6. Leverage informed decisions to manage WiFi system upgrades
If you purchase new wireless access points today, you’ll likely get 5 good years of use out of them. After 5 years, changes in bandwidth pricing, heightened wireless standards and the proliferation of new mobile devices and laptops might require you to purchase new access points or make changes to your other network infrastructure. Businesses deal with technology upgrades based on their own individual needs, but not every businesses has the proper resources or access to consultation to make the most informed decisions every time. This results in wasted investments,lost profits and ultimately prolongs inefficient operations. A managed WiFi solution can help you avoid this.
Your new commercial WiFi system will also need to be regularly maintenanced as new upgrades that increase the security and performance of your network are released. It’s important to apply these upgrades at the right times and to have older configurations backed-up in case something goes wrong. Your managed WiFi provider will oversee this entire process and guarantee that you won’t experience any downtime or hiccups.
7. Improve the user experience for everyone at your office
Your end goal is not to worry about WiFi. In fact you don’t want to think about it at all. WiFi should simply work and that’s what your managed WiFi provider can achieve. Beyond that, your entire WiFi experience can be customized to your liking. Bandwidth throttling and content filtering are just some of the features you can use to control how much bandwidth is used on your network as well as which websites employees can visit on the job.
Beyond all that Darth Vader style network control, you can use your network as an advertising tool with the help of custom designed splash pages. Splash pages are perfect for retail businesses or other commercial spaces with highly transient customer bases, like banks or malls. The branded splash page will greet all of the users accessing your network, making it prime real estate for advertising your products and services. Clients will appreciate this type of marketing and technical ingenuity. Your brand can only benefit from it.
8. Have immediate access to technical support for your managed WiFi solution
As far as wireless technology has come, we’re the first to admit that it isn’t always perfect. Sometimes two devices decide not to play nicely anymore and an access point occasionally fries out. Without the help of a managed WiFi provider, you are left with devices that can’t connect and work that can’t be performed resulting in downtime that’s as damaging to your company’s bottom line as it is to office morale. A managed WiFI provider gives you someone to call in a worst case scenario. Just as insurance may seem like an unnecessary expense when things are status quo, you are glad to have it when you need it.
It’s not all reactive work. One of the biggest benefits of a managed WiFi solution is the annual wireless site survey. The wireless site survey is your managed WiFi provider’s yearly chance to review the network’s performance in real time and make custom configurations to improve it. The wireless site survey is completed during business hours and does not require any downtime. It is especially useful in high density environments, in which hundreds of devices are supported using a single WiFi system as well as in offices where seating arrangements regularly change.
Every Business Can Benefit From A Managed WiFi Solution
Any business that sees WiFi as an essential element of its day-to-day operations should explore a managed WiFi solution. Solutions are affordable and can be customized for any business’ unique requirements. If you’re interested in learning more about a managed WiFi solution, contact Made By WiFi for a free wireless network consultation.