In a hyper-connected world, we need to provide constant connectivity to the users within our network. When you set up a Wi-Fi network correctly, you can drive the productivity, mobility and convenience that every modern organisation needs to be successful. Get it wrong, however, and there is very little the people in your network will be able to achieve in an always-on digital world.
To help you get the most from your Wi-Fi network, here is a list of the biggest gotchas we commonly see, and how best to avoid them.
- Over investing in infrastructure – This may not affect your Wi-Fi performance immediately, but it will certainly affect your organisation. Over investing in network infrastructure and hardware through large CAPEX outlays and ongoing licensing fees means you are tied to those investments over the long term, and while they may suit your needs initially, you will lack both the technical and financial agility to scale your network in the future.
- Under investing in infrastructure – Wi-Fi has gone from being a novelty to offer your users and users to an expected necessity. By having inadequate infrastructure to deliver appropriate levels of Wi-Fi connectivity, you are devaluing your organisation’s brand and missing a host of opportunities to build relationships, engage with users, and create value.
- Lack of stakeholder consultation – Without consulting with stakeholders at every level of your organisation, including users, you can waste countless hours installing and configuring networks that don’t meet your users’ needs. By finding out where, when, and how users prefer to connect to your network, this will allow you to provision the access points, switches and bandwidth required to deliver that connectivity.
- Lack of formal design – There is no one-size-fits-all approach to installing a Wi-Fi network. It is not a box that sits in the middle of your building, providing perfect connectivity right to the edge of the network. As well as stakeholder consultation, you need to consider building layouts, peak connectivity demands, and the applications being used, among dozens of other design considerations.
- Lack of testing – On paper your Wi-Fi network looks incredible, but the smallest mistake in your configuration could render the entire network useless if users are unable to connect on day one. By conducting phased testing as you bring your network online, you can ensure that each area is delivering the right level of coverage, so that you can have confidence everything will run smoothly during periods of peak demand.
- Using default security settings – A considerable amount of work goes into installing a new wireless network, which is why it can be tempting to skip certain components of your security set up. However, the costs and downtime associated with a severe security incident or data breach could cripple your organisation, so it pays to put the extra work into properly configuring every layer of your security settings.
- Security killing user experience – While security is important, so is user experience. Expecting each user to login through multiple factor authentication each time they connect to your network is simply not feasible as it drastically hampers overall productivity and the convenience your network is supposed to provide. Dynamic user profiling and monitoring should enable you to control access to your networks, while also getting out of your users’ way.
- Not having separate guest access – Having to provision the same level of bandwidth and access is unnecessary for every user connecting to your network. It also leaves you vulnerable to security threats. Guest access is an essential offshoot of your network that offers new users the courtesy of connectivity, while relatively limiting the number of devices they can connect, their uptime speed, and the types of applications and data they can access.
- Lack of BYOD support and security – We know that the average person carries multiple devices with them each day, particularly if they are working, studying or travelling. Without the ability to detect and support new devices when they connect to your network, you can severely hamper productivity and user experiences. Conversely, you also need the ability to adjust security policies dynamically to a user’s additional devices.
- Lack of visibility – We simply cannot guarantee network performance and SLAs if we cannot see how, where and when users are connecting to our network. We need the ability to understand network access and performance at both a network-wide level, as well as a granular user level. This level of visibility allows us to fine tune configurations and improve network performance over time.
Wireless networks are often costly and time consuming to set-up and manage. When wireless networks are poorly configured, they can also limit accessibility, expose your data to security risks, and severely hinder organisation performance.
Aruba Enterprise Wireless-as-a-service from Somerville frees you from complex wireless network set-up and management, so you can focus on what’s really important to your organisation. Get in touch with our Wireless-as-a-service team today, to find out how you can benefit from a secure and scalable high-performance network, with ongoing management and support from your trusted network partners at Somerville.