In today’s business world, having great WiFi isn’t a luxury -it’s a necessity. Businesses, with their varying needs, have personal requirements for what constitutes great WiFi. For some small businesses, consumer-grade WiFi may be sufficient, but many find that business-grade WiFi is more appropriate. As companies grow, there becomes a tipping point where business-grade is necessary. So how do you know if your business is ready for business-grade WiFi? Ask yourself the following questions to find out.

Ready for Business Grade Wi-Fi?

How many devices use your WiFi?

It used to be that only desktop computers connected to your WiFi, but that is no longer the case. With the rise of portable devices such as smartphones, tablets, and laptops, each person may be using your WiFi from several devices. Consumer-grade hardware is designed for just a few people (like the amount that live in a single household) but can’t manage larger amounts of users and all of their devices. This is especially true for sustained usage. Remember that your employees aren’t the only people who expect to be able to connect to your WiFi. One of the first things visitors typically do is look for a WiFi network to connect their smartphones to.

What is the size and shape of your workspace?

The number of access points you will need for your WiFi is dependent on the amount of physical space that needs to be covered, the shape of the area, wall material, and the number of users/devices. In smaller spaces, consumer-grade WiFi is good enough. Larger, oddly shaped spaces benefit from business-grade. If your building’s walls are made of brick, cinder blocks, or cement, you likely need more access points than buildings made of other materials. Make sure you have a strong connection from all locations. It’s annoying to only be connected to WiFi in certain areas of a building and find yourself in a deadzone a few steps later.

Access points for business-grade WiFi tend to be more powerful and flexible. For example, some business WiFi systems can transfer WiFi devices from a crowded access point to one that is less busy. By doing this, everybody’s fast speed remains. If you foresee your range needing to increase, such as renting out more space, it’s easier to add more access points to business-grade WiFi than consumer-grade. Businesses that anticipate scaling up soon are better off with business-grade WiFi.

Do you want guests to have the same quality WiFi as workers?

In households, where consumer-grade WiFi is prevalent, all users share the WiFi equally. In a home environment, if children are slowing down the internet with Netflix or video games, it’s not a big problem. However, a choked business WiFi can cause a lot of problems. Business-grade WiFi allows you network management. You can assign a designated amount of bandwidth to different users so they’re unable to clog the entire connection. You can allow visitors internet access without giving them unlimited access to the network.

How much does the internet affect your employees’ productivity?

For some companies, workers only use WiFi for a few quick tasks. With these types of businesses, if the internet is slow, it won’t have a big impact on how much work your employees get done. Consumer-grade WiFi might be a good choice. For other companies, there isn’t much people can accomplish if the WiFi isn’t working well. The slower your employees work, the less money you make. WiFi troubles can also lead to frustrated, unhappy workers. If fast internet is essential for people to complete their daily tasks, business-grade WiFi is important.

Strong WiFi is a necessity for all businesses. This is especially true for larger businesses that connect a lot of devices (from both employees and visitors) and have a big work area. Also for those where employee productivity depends on a strong connection. The goal is to keep your business-critical technology running smoothly. Consider carefully whether consumer-grade WiFi or business-grade WiFi is the best choice for your business. When you ask yourself the questions above, the answer should become clear.

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