As more and more companies look to convert from cable to wireless connectivity, it is important to understand the difference between consumer grade and business grade wireless installations. Going wireless in your office should not be accomplished by going to your neighborhood electronics store and latching on to the latest router and modem.
The process should start with qualified technicians, and they can best be found through a managed IT support provider. Unless your in-house IT people have real world experience in determining the correct placement of wireless access points (WAPs), they will likely run into trouble if they try and do this on their own. If they attempt “overkill coverage”, placing too many WAPs can actually cause more problems than it solves, and existing wiring and metal studs inside your office walls can have a seriously negative impact on the installation.
One way to check is to create a heat map that shows the strength of wireless signals. Although not always necessary, this can be important at times, because it is not uncommon for the actual signals emitted to either be stronger or weaker than what is promised on the box. A heat map can help determine where to locate/relocate WAPs to get better results. One question that comes up is, why be concerned about signals that are too strong? The answer: when your signal is strong enough to spill out into the street, you are more exposed and that means more risk. People in your organization may run the same risks as those using public WAPs, like at Starbucks, and while requiring a password to get onto your wireless network is good, it will protect you just so far.
Making sure you have the right signal power can also mean the difference between downloading a file in a few seconds rather than a few minutes. For some of your employees, this may not be important, but for others, this may be a critical element in their productivity, not to mention frustration levels.
Of course, there is a cost involved, but it need not be overly expensive and the initial evaluation can usually be accomplished in a single day. You will likely need to have new cables run to the spots where new WAPs will be installed, and of course there will be some new equipment, but we believe that the final result, when done properly, will be well worth the cost and effort. One more suggestion: set up separate internet signals for guests, and have your own employees use this guest connection for their own mobile phones and other personal devices. This can keep malware that may be on their devices from infecting your business network. This is just part of the common-sense security precautions we would suggest for any business.
If you would like to discuss a complimentary assessment for wireless, or for a network and cyber security assessment, give us a call at 777.569.4600. Novatech has been a Managed IT Service provider serving the needs of small to mid-sized businesses since 1992.