There’s nothing worse than slow or dodgy wi-fi when it comes to an office. The seemingly invisible technology that allows your employees to get their work done effectively & efficiently. No one likes a slow connection or one that drops constantly or having to fight over the magic corner in your office that gets a good signal versus everywhere else.
Here’s a look at why your wi-fi may suck & how you can improve it!
Your ISP Plan
Your ISP or internet service provider is essentially the source of your internet in the office. No matter the equipment you get or tweaks made, if the ISP plan you have isn’t great then you won’t see many improvements. If you’re moving into a new office or really looking to improve your connection then start by examining your ISP plan ensuring you’re on a business level tier getting a connection relative to your office size. When ISP’s offer you a plan it typically is broken down into two numbers: your download & upload speed which is referenced as 100 down & up (Meaning 100 download & upload). While these numbers aren’t always 100% accurate you want to first ensure you’re getting a plan that suits the needs of your business. For example, being on a residential plan of 50/50 when there’s potentially 1Gb (1,000 Mbs) up & down available. Yes, this means higher costs but trust me when we say it’s worth the investment.
Use a site like Speedtest to see the upload/download your pulling & ensure your getting relative to what you pay for!
2. Consumer-grade equipment vs Enterprise
Similar to point 1: garbage in, garbage out. When you have a decent plan in place, you want to then ensure the hardware pushing out the actual wi-fi supports it. A mistake growing startups may make is sticking to consumer hardware or even routers provided by the ISP themselves. While consumer brands make mid-tier enterprise equipment (Linksys, ASUS, etc.) it’s worth looking to upgrade to actual enterprise hardware that allows for mesh networking. This means multiple AP’s to get more coverage in your office & all come together under one network. So no matter where you are in the office you stay connected to the wi-fi.
Now pricing here varies on the setup at hand & there are multiple brands from Cisco Meraki to Unifi to invest in for your enterprise but not only does enterprise hardware help get the most efficient wi-fi speeds but it also gives your IT team better infrastructure to manage your company’s network & securely lock down your network from intrusions or outside attacks.
Enterprise hardware Network Right recommends:
3. Location, Location, Location
Maybe you already have a decent system in place but a simple re-locating could help tremendously improve the signal. There are certain factors that are unavoidable such as steel walls & other materials which can be harder for AP’s to penetrate. Another factor could be other networks & businesses around you can cause what’s called “interference” that affects the signal. Think of an office building with 20+ companies in it, meaning you’re competing with 20 other signals. Now certain hardware allows you to adjust these “Channels” to ensure you are always on the most effective/fastest signal. However, physical location also matters. Properly placing your AP’s in a central location so that employees get the most effective coverage. At times, adding in even another AP/wireless access point can make all the difference.
4. Poor Configuration
This tends to fall more on the admin or provider who manages your network but there are plenty of configurations that’ll help effectively improve your wifi based on your needs. Things like bandwidth shaping, QOS (prioritizing devices for improved performance such as conference rooms), channels, and much more. Properly configuring the network ensures your network is locked down from outside guests getting on the corporate network & slowing down or even compromising the network. Having someone to manage your network (in-house or remotely) is important in ensuring your wifi is always performing optimally. This includes firmware updates, occasional surveys to ensure your hardware doesn’t need expansion or replacing, and so on.
5. Sheer scale
When planning out a network, a couple of factors have to be considered. If your AP’s, for example, support 50 devices on average considering each employee nowadays probably has two devices (a laptop & mobile phone), BYOD or bring your own device policy, guests, and so on are all to be factored so a 25 person office is truly 50+ devices. As a company scales, more bandwidth is used & in turn, more monitoring, advanced hardware, and so on needs to be factored in. Preventing users from, for instance, using P2P or torrent technology & ensuring nothing bandwidth-intensive is taking over the network. Accounting for such growth at the start is the best-case scenario but sometimes that isn’t the reality. Any company, especially a startup, can quickly grow & at a certain point a complete overhaul should be considered. As your company scales so should your network.
There is a multitude of factors, some technical & some obvious, as to why a network & specific wi-fi can slow down & cause issues for your users. However, surveyed & managed properly there many options that can be done to provide the best experience for your employees. Considering the source of the connection to start such as your ISP’s plan & the hardware are always a good place to start as everything trickles from there. After those are in place, it’s best to look into the more technical end or ensuring your IT team/vendor optimizes the network so that wi-fi is set up as efficiently as possible based on your office. No office or setup is the same. Multiple networks around you can affect the signal, the building itself, alongside many other factors so doing your best to not skimp on the source equipment & service is a great start.
Network Right offers network support from small offices to corporate offices. Whether you have 20 employees or 200 we can survey your office to ensure your setup is configured efficiently or that your new space is equipped with the most budget-conscious & feature-rich hardware. Built to scale & support whenever & where ever. Contact us today at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have slow office wi-fi or network issues in general & want to save time & get everything running smoothly!