More offices are switching to WiFi to conduct their business, citing its cost-effectiveness and efficiency. When shopping for a wireless solution, however, most business owners will need a little guidance to identify their network needs and connect them with the right wireless solution. The experts at GNS Wireless offer the following tips so that business owners are aware of some of the most important questions to consider before making their WiFi equipment purchase.
Small businesses seeking reliable wireless service, will be fine with a standard consumer-grade router. One router will provide a signal strong enough to cover roughly a 2,000-square foot, two-story office. Standard routers will provide up to four Ethernet ports that allow businesses to hardwire their computers directly into the network, or connect extra components including printers, network storage, or any additional access points.
To provide adequate service to a larger company, there are two options- a VPN Router or a UTM Gateway or Firewall.VPN stands for Virtual Private Network and is used for both wireless networks and Ethernet-only networks. Ethernet-only can be adapted for WiFi but requires additional access points. These VPN routers are integrated with a VPN server and usually provide users with advanced features including VLAN (virtual LAN– a broadcast domain that is partitioned in a computer network within a Local Area Network) support and multiple SSIDs (SSID stands for service set identifier– it is used to identify a wireless network, like an IP address). Unified Threat Management Gateways offer advanced features and are generally designed as Ethernet-only. These devices offer virus and malware protection in addition to acting as your router and internet gateway. UTM Gateways are ideal for large businesses with security as a core component of their operations.
Many companies allow their employees to use their own laptops and mobile devices for business. The increase in Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) systems has spawned a need for businesses to provide strong, reliable WiFi to each of those devices. This requirement leaves business owners with the choice to go with a consumer product or one designed just for businesses, which may be further customizable.
Do not over or underbuy. To save money, some small businesses will opt for a consumer-grade model over one that’s specifically designed for business use. Consumer-grade applications often lack the key capabilities needed for heavy business use, such as security and manageability. It’s highly recommended that even smaller businesses opt for enterprise-grade models to ensure that they receive the best service. It is always better to spend more than face the consequences of a possible hacked system later.
Strength is only one factor to consider when deciding which WiFi equipment to buy for a wireless network. When it is time to upgrade or expand your network, be sure to always buy equipment of the same standard. In other words, do not try to save money by mixing consumer grade with business equipment. In fact, buying equipment of the same wireless standard assists to optimize your network and saves money over time. Also, greater cost does not always mean a better product. Even though business-grade access points might provide you with a more secure wireless signal, don’t let high-cost translate to the highest quality.
Speak with the WiFi equipment professionals at GNS Wireless. We’ll assist you to determine which wireless network components are the right fit for your business needs today and for the foreseeable future. Call us at (877) 209-5152. You can also send us an email, if you’d prefer, to firstname.lastname@example.org.