The Secrets of Wireless Networks for Businesses

wireless networks for coworking

Experience

Since 2014, TechNoir Solutions has worked with business of all sizes, to build fast and reliable wireless networks for commercial business operations. From small and mid-sized businesses, to national brands, with locations across the country, our engineers have supported hundreds of data networks, nationwide, for thousands of clients. Learn more about us here.

With all that experience in wireless technology, once thing is very clear, be prepared. Prepared means, having the right technology, redundancies, and policies in place when you open your doors. Throwing a wireless access point on a desk, in the corner office will lead to many complaints.

The Foundation of Wireless Networks for Businesses

What is your business? How does your team use the internet in their day-to-day business?

Are your employees attorneys, that work remotely and use cloud-based resources?

Or perhaps, you are a startup, or entrepreneur who might be coding or publishing videos or need real-time data feeds for business?

It’s no surprise which one of these businesses will be extremely dependent on their data networks. Understanding your business and how your employees use the network is the first step to designing fantastic wireless networks.

Understanding the Needs of Wireless Networks for Businesses

Whether your business space manages its own internet and WiFi network, or it uses a IT vendor to manage it,understanding what goes into high performing wireless networks will help you make more informed decisions for your business

With this in mind, fast and reliable internet could be considered the backbone of your business productivity. Your employees rely on seamless connectivity for tasks ranging from videoconferencing to uploading and downloading large files. High-speed internet not only enhances your team member's productivity, but also contributes to employee satisfaction.

However, fast internet all by itself isn’t everything you need. Businesses will experience fluctuations in occupancy, thanks to hybrid work environments. By building a scalable and flexible network infrastructure that allows for easy scaling, your business will be able to accommodate more employees and devices without compromising performance.

Last, but certainly not least, is network security. Network security is a major concern in every business environment. Robust security measures must be in place to prevent unauthorizedaccess, data breaches, and other cyber threats. Configuring the network property, from the beginning, will ensure that security is baked in.

Top 4 Design Considerations of Wireless Networks for Businesses

As mentioned previously, understanding your employee's work habits is the foundation from which to build upon.However, once you have determined who will be using, and how they will be using your network, you then need to consider the space you are in, the type of connectivity you will be providing, internet bandwidth you’ll need and redundancy.

1 – Planning

Whenever we have a new project, the first thing we ask for are the floor plans. This is the very first step to determine how much and what kind of equipment will be needed. We assess the floor plans by looking at the office layout, meeting rooms and common areas.How the offices are laid out makes a big difference in network design. Are theydense, or spread out; are offices drywall or glass wall? It all makes a difference in the design. We also need details on the building materials(especially important with older buildings that are being renovated), since brick, mortar and wood beams absorb WiFi transmissions like a sponge

2 – Wired vs. Wireless Networks

The choice between wired and wireless networks depends on a number of factors such as user density, device mobility,latency needs and cost. While wired connections offer greater stability,wireless networks provide the flexibility required in today's business environment. The vast majority of businesses we have designed have wireless networking, simply because it is the logical choice.

So, wireless seems to be the clearchoice? Well, there are some drawbacks:

  • Requires more configuration, setup, and maintenance than wired networks (budget for this OpEx cost, it’s real).
  • WiFi is prone to interference from microwaves, wireless networks from nearby buildings, un/intended wireless networks installed by members and Bluetooth devices (AirPods).
  • WiFi signals can be blocked or weakened by concrete and masonry walls, timber beams, metal HVAC equipment, glass, drywall, tile, and conduit.

That’s a lot to consider, especially if your space has dense floor plans and or multiple floors.

Typically, wired ports are typically easier to install properly, need less management, and maintenance is straightforward. The downside, if you are building a new space, is that the CapEx costs will be much higher for the network equipment and data cabling installation, than for a fully wireless network.

Regardless, ensure that you have a clearly defined policies for internet use, access to the wireless network and online etiquette.

3 – Bandwidth Allocation

Properly allocating bandwidth ensures that essential tasks receive the necessary resources. High-definition videoconferencing, VoIP phones, and data-intensive applications should be prioritized to prevent bottlenecks.

Allocating bandwidth per employee ensures that the bandwidth from the incoming internet circuit is never too oversubscribed.

4 – Redundancy and Failover Mechanisms

To minimize downtime, incorporating redundancy and failover mechanisms is crucial. Redundant internet connections and backup power sources can keep the network operational even during outages.

Power

One word of caution, have realistic expectations. The only backup power supplies that will keep your internet up and running during an extended power outage are diesel generators. Most affordable battery backups are not intended to run for more than 3-12 minutes.These batteries are intended to only provide a “graceful shutdown” to the equipment connected to them. Expecting a $300 battery backup device to power your entire network is not realistic, however they are necessary to guard against brownouts and power surges and spikes.

Wireless Networks Need Internet

Your internet connection will go down.It is not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when. Cable, fiber, satellite, or terrestrial microwave all have downtime at some point or another. Depending on what your business does, it may not matter if the internet goes out once in a while.Conversely, it may matter a great deal if the internet goes out for your employees….and it will always happen at a critical time for you or one of your team members.

Determining where you land on the scale of “do or don’t care”, this should tell you whether redundant internet connections are necessary for your business. From an IT perspective, redundancy should always be planned for, although the scale of redundancy can be a big variable. For businesses that use cloud based resources for business operations,we recommend, at minimum, two internet connections sourced from two different ISPs. This way, if one ISP is having problems, the other circuit should be operational.

Connectivity

These circuits should be the same type of connectivity, meaning they both should be cable or fiber. Doing this will allow you to “load balance” the bandwidth between the two circuits. If you cannot get two circuits with the same connectivity, you cannot load balance the bandwidth. Instead, you’ll have to have one circuit as a primary and one circuit as a failover. The reason being fiber and cable use two different mediums to transport data. Cable uses copper wire; fiber optic uses glass cables. Because there is more resistance when data travels over copper wire, it has higher latency than fiber. Load balancing requires both connections/circuits to have the same latency.

Businesses have costs to consider when it comes to how much they are willing to spend to ensure reliability.

More to Come on Wireless Networks for Businesses

Stay tuned for the next part of the article, where we’ll delve into selecting the right network equipment and addressing data security concerns. Whether you’re setting up a new office or looking to enhance your existing network, these insights will be invaluable.