There are few things more vital than reliable internet access at work. Without it, communications and productivity plummets. Businesses occupying space in crowded office parks are quickly realizing that the days of picking up a router or two at Best Buy, plugging them in and then expecting a solid network have passed.
Wireless channels, wireless access point placement and load balancing dictate how well a network will perform and maintain connection to the hundreds of network devices in the average office. Think about how many devices you own that connect to the network. Even refrigerators connect to the network and provide alerts to the owner when the water filter needs to be replaced, or things stop working as expected. Everything, in the smart-enabled world we've entered needs access.
Wireless Site Surveys are an Annual Maintenance Expectation
Even if the network works well once installed, interference sources and levels change with time. Even the layout of an office can change. Metal filing cabinets and poorly insulated wires can make it difficult for signal to pierce through to every corner of your office.
According to Field Engineer, "Performing a site survey is a critical step towards achieving peak network performance. Offices and homes that skip this step can be subject to poor Quality of Service (QoS); dead-zones, intermittent signal drops and weak signal strength is par for the course."
The modern office's Wireless Access Point (WAP) needs to be strategically placed, and fine-tuned in order to deliver quality signal to your entire team. The site survey uncovers all of the trouble areas, and gives you the tools necessary to craft a plan that overcomes those challenges.
Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) Workplace Culture is Straining Your Network
Employees want to bring their favorite smartphone, tablet and even laptop to work with them. It's the devices they're familiar with, and they likely claim that they'll be more productive if they can just work with what they already have.
The BYOD culture brings with it a major stress-factor for your IT team. How do they secure all of these devices? And, for your Wireless Access Points, how will they handle the increased connections?
There are steps your IT team can take to support your BYOD policies without sacrificing network speed, reliability or security:
- Your company needs to establish or update a very specific, widely distributed BYOD policy.
- The IT's in your office need to conduct a site survey, paying close attention to where your team works from. The supply closet isn't as high of a priority as your conference room where you meet with clients, or the set of cubicles where your customer service team works.
- The network should be tested at different times of the work day in order to identify time-sensitive sources of interference and spikes in workload.
- Implement cloud-based data systems that provide accessibility with end-to-end encryption and security.
- Take advantage of the device management rights (DMR) that can be profiled via corporate data access settings on personal devices. Enforcing strong passwords, with regular changes and the use of VPN's can significantly improve personal device security.
The laptop, tablet and phone that they use at home is the same one that travels with them to work. Their technology fits like a glove. When everything is easy to interact and direct, the work becomes less stressful. Employees spend less time tackling complicated technology, and more time getting work done.
Supporting the BYOD culture requires a strong, reliable network that is modern enough to overcome sources of everyday interference (cellular towers, poorly insulated cabling, adjacent networks, microwaves, cordless phones, etc.). A site survey will help make sure your network is evolving to keep pace with your workforce. Because of this, annual maintenance contracts (including annual site surveys) are becoming the new norm in corporate America.