How NOT To Set Up Your Small Business WiFi

There are all kinds of obstacles many small to medium-size businesses face when trying to provide secure small business WiFi, including cost, performance, and security. Increasingly failure to overcome these challenges and meet their customers’ WiFi needs means businesses in all kinds of niches will struggle to remain competitive.

Here’s some real world examples. According to a report, almost half of all shoppers say that availability of in-store WiFi influences their decisions on where to shop. Similarly, in the hospitality industry, free WiFi is the number one amenity guests are looking for when choosing a hotel, or, as we mentioned in a recent post, even an Airbnb lodging.

Customers, diners, shoppers, and guests nowadays have the same expectations for easy, efficient WiFi no matter where they go, so companies of all sizes need to step up their WiFi game.

But for many smaller concerns, or those who are forced to stick to rigid budgets, such as schools and non-profits, the challenge of providing great small business wifi can seem like one that may be beyond their reach. And they make some mistakes along the way that not only diminish the quality of the wifi they offer – thus frustrating their customers – but also end up costing them money in the long run.

Here is a look at some of the most common (so that you can avoid them.)

Skimping on The Router

It’s a scenario that we commonly see in bars, restaurants, retail stores and more, all places that really do need great WiFi to please their customers; choosing the wrong router for their WiFi network.

“I bought a wifi router at Best Buy that works great in my house. Let’s buy the same one for our business!”

Also known as SOHO (Single Office, Home Office) gear, consumer networking devices have come a long way in recent years. And some home router solutions do have features that make it almost look like it could work in an enterprise-grade WiFi scenario. Plus, it’s less expensive than enterprise-grade equipment, which makes it very tempting.

But in every area that matters—capacity, stability, security, and more—consumer networking gear can’t perform at the level required by an enterprise-grade network. It’s just not designed to. The investment in an enterprise quality router is just one that has to be made.

Failing to Get Proper Professional WiFi Design and Installation

If you head to online portals like Amazon or New Egg you will find that you can buy enterprise grade routers suitable for small businesses there. And if you read the product listings many of them will claim they are easy to install and many are from big names like Cisco (or seem to be, most are actually third party sellers).

Dig a little deeper though. Read some (many) of the customer reviews. Security packages were missing. The buyer did not know how to configure it, or it did not work with the existing systems they had in place. And those are just a few of the issues!

Every business needs a WiFi system that is designed and installed to meet their unique and specific needs and that will provide the fast, secure WiFi they need. And unless your company boasts a dedicated IT department, which most small businesses do not, then you should call in the professionals, even if the initial outlay is a little more.

Failing to Realize the Importance of WiFi Maintenance

“Our network is up and running, so our work here is done! High fives all around!”

Once you’ve set up your wireless network, the project is not over. After it’s up and running, it will only stay that way if you follow the three Ms: Monitor, Manage, and Measure.

Possibly the most important component of your network is having the right WiFi services process in place. This will allow you to monitor everything you’ve just installed, manage those components (keep things up to date, etc.), and measure the performance of your network from the end users’ perspective.

Everything on your WiFi network is alive and every component changes, from the devices accessing your network to the RF environment itself. The reality is, you’re never really done—unless you prefer a network that over time becomes slower, less secure, and finally, obsolete.