A wireless router might be the hub of your home but is it best for your business? To think that there are businesses that don’t have wireless, is the same as thinking they don’t have water or electricity. Wireless broadband is so ingrained in our daily lives that we often don’t think about it, because it’s all around us … all the time. But what of your existing wired network? Should you just dump it all and start over with wireless?
From a management perspective, having a physical wired infrastructure is possibly cheaper on installation but maintenance is where it falls short. If the business grows, cabling can become costly and is often awkward to hide and maintain.
Although with wireless broadband, you can extend your connectivity instantly, speeds can be slower and often fall prey to signal interruption from floors, walls and other electronic devices.
There are pros and cons for both and businesses that either still don’t have wireless broadband at all or would like to increase their connectivity, should understand the advantages and disadvantages of wireless broadband before spending a huge amount of money on restructuring.
Advantages of Wireless Broadband
It’s vital to allow staff access to the network and giving them wireless access gives them the freedom to move around, from office to boardroom. Advantages of wireless networks include:
- Deployment: The setup of a wireless network is as easy as plugging it into the power socket, plugging in your adsl line , configure it and your computers (or get your administrator to do so) and hey presto! your network is born.
- Expandability: You can allow network access to an increased number of staff, anytime and almost immediately. In a normal wire network, any additional staff or clients would need a cable.
- Productivity: Staff can maintain their connection with the business network no matter where they move within range. In terms of business, this could mean that staff are more productive as they can complete their work from any location that’s convenient.
- Cost: You may think that a wired network would cost less than installing a wireless one, due to the sheer cost of some of the technology available. But if you factor in the time, labour and maintenance costs of running cables physically throughout your business, the cost of a wireless router, repeaters and such devices, can often be outweighed by its cabled counterparts.
Disadvantages of Wireless Broadband
There are a number of reasons why a wireless LAN might not be the best option and most of them have to do with the current limitations of wireless broadband. These disadvantages include:
- Reliability: Wireless broadband is like a radio frequency and as such, is susceptible to interference. Physical limitations can occur from floor to floor and through thick walls, which a network administrator cannot control.
- Range: We’ve come along way when it comes to range, but it can still fall short. Some wireless equipment might seem sufficient for home use but is ineffectual in a larger office environment. You could purchase range repeaters and set up additional access points but these cost can soon add up.
- Speed: The speed of your wireless network will depend on how much you are able to spend on it. A common wired LAN network runs from 100Mbps and can go up to several Gbps, whereas expensive wireless routers need to be purchased to match the speed.
- Security: One of the most important drawbacks to wireless is the increased vulnerability. Although wired networks are not void of hacking, wireless networks are susceptible due to known weaknesses. Various encryption programs and technologies are available to combat the risk of information and your network being compromised.
Best of Both Worlds
Combining both wireless and wired infrastructure is a way that businesses can meet the needs of their mobile staff and still maintain security, reliability and control. Take the stress out of figuring out what you need and choose an infrastructure partner. By using Infrastructure as a Service, you can eliminate the hassle of integrating wireless into your wired infrastructure or visa versa by letting us advise you on the best solutions for your business.