What 5 Factors Should Drive Your Wi-Fi Purchase Decision?
This series of blogs will serve as a guide, providing you with information as well as pointed questions to take to every Wi-Fi vendor, ensuring you really are getting a solution that is tailored to your own needs through 2017 and beyond.
Wi-Fi has quickly become the medium of choice for network access for most organizations today, and it is therefore crucial that any wireless-first workplace has the right infrastructure in place. Conversations with Wi-Fi vendors will typically cover topics ranging from coverage to capacity to security to managemen to scalability to investment protection.
Even if you only require basic connectivity today, it is important to determine what the complete vendor offering looks like, so that you can easily add new functionality as your business needs evolve.
In this post, I highlight five key discussion points with your vendor to ensure maximum value is achieved:
1) Ensuring capacity for the growing number of devices
With the network witnessing continued demand for access by a wider range of devices, bandwidth is crucial. 802.11ac has unlocked speeds of Gigabit and beyond, but is that enough? As we explore the various implementations of WLAN architecture and performance optimization features, we will help you determine how to realize the true potential of your infrastructure, and protect future growth within a single site or across multiple geographic locations.
2) Guaranteeing network uptime
9 out of 10 organizations consider the use of mobile devices to be either critical or very important to their business processes and productivity; therefore the supporting infrastructure must be rock solid, otherwise there is a significant impact to the business. How quickly can your infrastructure and organization recover from service outage or reduced productivity?
3) Flexibility vs. Security
To cope with the influx of devices, IT departments are balancing flexibility against security in order to meet business needs. There is top down pressure to enable productivity and efficiency, and mobility is a key part of this, however for IT to get the job done, the highest levels of security that should be implemented are often neglected in favor of flexibility.
4) Visibility of users, devices, and applications
If your doors are open to BYOD, guest, and IoT devices, it may not always be clear who exactly is on the network, which devices they are connecting with, what applications are being accessed, and where they are located. Selecting an appropriate management platform is crucial to providing comprehensive visibility and control.
5) Return on investment
Wi-Fi offers a unique opportunity to better connect with people through their mobile device, and provide connectivity for network connected systems and sensors that enable intelligent buildings or security systems, all of which can leverage cloud-based analytics engines and applications to increase business intelligence. As organizations seek to increase engagement, productivity, and cost savings, these capabilities will become a key part of the WLAN selection criteria for organizations in 2017 and beyond.
In my next post I will discuss planning and setting expectations, because the number-one rule for a successful Wi-Fi deployment is to not skimp on the planning. Stay tuned.All posts in this WLAN Buyer's Guide series:
Part 5) Is All Enterprise Wi-Fi Equal?