We’ve all had them - Wi-Fi horror stories. Times you needed access, and simply couldn’t get it. Have you found yourself expecting to connect while waiting in an airport, only to discover that the Wi-Fi either wasn’t available or barely gave you enough bandwidth to check your email? How about needing to catch up on work between presentations at a busy conference, except the Wi-Fi is almost non-existent because in the few areas where a signal is available, the network is stretched beyond its capacity?
Poor Wi-Fi is equivalent to no Wi-Fi
The quality of Wi-Fi provided to your customers plays an important role in their opinion of you – further impacting their likelihood to buy, and more importantly, to return. If your customers spend time at your location, chances are high that they rely on some form of connectivity to make decisions, be productive, communicate or enjoy their experience.
According to recent findings from Retail Tech News, 75% of customers now have a Wi-Fi enabled device with them at all times, yet the industry has been sluggish in enabling an optimal digital experience for its hyper-connected, always-on consumers within retail locations.
Most devices rely on Wi-Fi for network access, given the majority of connected devices no longer include physical Ethernet ports. Customers and employees have come to expect quality Wi-Fi access. It impacts how they work, the hotel they decide to stay in for business or pleasure, which coffee shop they frequent, and more.
5 factors which define your Wi-Fi quality
If customer and employee satisfaction is tied closely to being digitally enabled, then they likely rely on you to provide them with a great Wi-Fi experience. These 5 factors are generally understood to be the most important elements to consider when evaluating the quality of your W-Fi:
Can my customers and employees access collaboration tools, download documents, send and receive e-mail, communicate over Social Media, message, make audio calls and stream video with ease? Can they do this on the move, across multiple workspaces and locations without having to disconnect and reconnect manually? As businesses redefine their workplaces with digital tools, they will depend on technology which connects their team, data and applications seamlessly, enabling productivity anywhere and anytime.
Speed and reliability
Can customers and employees depend on the Wi-Fi signal to be reliable and consistent, without interrupting their activities midstream? This will depend on both the access points and the underlying network they connect to.
Is my network safe from threats? Is it doing the best possible job of securing customer and employee data, their devices, their privacy, and your corporate assets?
How do we handle a potential Wi-Fi issue? Will my employees have access to 24/7 support?
How do we ensure all of the above requirements are met while making sure that our network has the flexibility to change with an evolving, digital workplace? Will it accommodate new device capabilities? Will it scale across multiple locations as physical and virtual workspaces change over time? Can we customize authentication schedules, manage one IP across several LAN hosts and restrict access to certain network services that might pose a security risk.
Defining what is desired from your Wi-Fi connection is an important step, which should lead your business to seek out the Wi-Fi and network solution which delivers on these requirements, while addressing your business realities concerning budget and time to implement.
How to select and implement the right Wi-Fi solution
Most organizations review their Wi-Fi setup only when their existing infrastructure no longer meets the demands placed on it – and at this point, it’s usually long overdue for an upgrade or an overhaul. There are three approaches to setting up and maintaining your Wi-Fi infrastructure:
Do it yourself
For organizations with skilled operational teams, they may opt to source, install and deploy their own Wi-Fi infrastructure. These organizations typically have their own fully dedicated security teams and workforce resources who can also manage the day-to-day operating of the network.
Adopt cloud services
Organizations seeking simplified deployment, configuration and management look to off-the-rack offerings like those enabled by CISCO Meraki products, where operational functions are delivered through a cloud service. The business still owns and manages their physical devices (access points), but the core Wi-Fi service management (controller) resides in the cloud. Given the complexity is reduced, a smaller team is required to setup and manage the Wi-Fi service.
Fully managed service
Managed Premise as a Service (MPaaS) is an emerging offering where a technology partner such as TELUS owns, installs, maintains and manages a Wi-Fi infrastructure (access points and controllers) for a customer. From installation through to management and support, this approach allows a business to focus its resources on driving productivity, while leaving day-to-day network management, optimization, ongoing maintenance, and monitoring in the trusted hands of their technology partner.
Each business has their own priorities and will determine which of these three approaches fits their unique needs. TELUS works with its clients to define those needs, understand business constraints, identify the right technology and implement it in a timely and reliable manner.
Interested in learning more about how TELUS network and internet solutions can elevate your business? Here are some useful articles and a 2-minute video clip: