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WiFi benefits that matter most to small and medium enterprises

In our always-on, always-connected world, businesses require a network solution which is fast, reliable, cost-effective and scales up on demand – and it seems such WiFi benefits have hooked SMEs.
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There’s never been more of an expectation placed on the IT network manager or CIO, to provide a solution which meets this criterion, whilst also keeping cost and complexity to a minimum. For the majority of businesses, WiFi benefits have made it the medium of choice for seamless network access.

However, there’s a shift in the market happening, where businesses are requiring more from the data collected through the networks to be used to enhance business models and processes. As an SMB there are several key factors that should be assessed before investing in a chosen WiFi solution?

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Stay flexible, stay secure

With most businesses now operating with a culture of Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) it has become increasingly important that networks remain secure, without hindering the ability of staff to utilise the vast number of devices at their disposal.

To stay competitive, businesses need to provide the flexibility that workers crave, this rings especially true when it comes to allowing them to use the devices they are comfortable with. Whether this be their tablet, iPhone or personal laptop.

If your doors are open to external devices being brought on to your network by employees, guests, and even by other IoT devices, it makes it an ownership and accountability issue. To make the most of those WiFi benefits you need to know the owners of all devices on your network, and also which applications are being accessed, and where they are located. Selecting an appropriate management platform is therefore crucial to providing comprehensive visibility, control and security.

Connectivity, but not at a cost

WiFi enables businesses to provide seamless connectivity for network connected systems, mobile devices and sensors that facilitate intelligent buildings or security systems. There’s no doubt WiFi benefits are far-reaching, but it’s important businesses implement a solution which is applicable to their size and usage, and which can be scaled upon demand.

For small businesses in particular, having the ability to add more access points while growing and expanding can be critical to success. Traditionally, SMEs have had to make a decision when it comes to purchasing WiFi, go for the inexpensive, limited access option or the enterprise-grade option with far too many add-ons the business may not need.

Business executives and IT managers alike should look to providers who offer scalable, secure and reliable wireless infrastructure at a competitive price point, with the ability to expand APs or add analytics solutions, as needed.

Keeping downtime to a minimum

With the majority of organisations now considering the use of mobile devices to be either critical or very important to business processes and productivity; it has become crucial that network infrastructure remains solid and that downtime remains limited. It’s no secret that connection issues happen, but when a service outage does occur, it’s vital that businesses have a WiFi solution in place which recovers quickly, limiting the damage caused.

This all starts with a mobile device management (MDM) strategy. Take PPSK guest access for instance, unique keys can be created or revoked for individuals or groups of users on the same network and those keys can be easily managed and distributed via the cloud of mobile application or additionally, via users’ self-registration.

With profile-based network access, profiles are fully configurable, allowing businesses or IT departments to determine not only where the devices can access the network but when and for how long. Having an access management platform that can handle the influx of devices of a growing business while maintain a high level of security will ensure the network is functioning at full capacity.

For those looking to make the most of WiFi benefits, it’s important to follow these tips. WiFi provides companies with the opportunity to connect the workforce in a more seamless fashion than ever before, it doesn’t need to break the bank. Crucially, businesses need to look to a solution which can scale upon demand. Whether a business needs extra bandwidth due to growth, or less bandwidth due to a holiday season, it’s important that their solution provides them with the ability to achieve this.

Mathew Edwards is product marketing manager at Aerohive Networks

This article is part of our Real Business Broadband campaign, which seeks to provide a mouthpiece for business leaders to vocalise the broadband issues preventing their businesses from reaching full potential. We’d love to hear your take on the debate and where you think the UK needs to make drastic changes – and feel to ask us your broadband queries. Get in touch via email (shane.schutte@realbusiness.co.uk) or join in on the action using #rbBroadband.

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