Does Your Business WiFi Network Need an Upgrade?
Your business Internet and WiFi network is critical to business growth. The need to access network files and software with any device from anywhere on-site is crucial. However, an aging wireless network resulting in unreliable connectivity can negatively impact your business on several levels, including the ability to i9ntegrate and grow with next-generation technologies.
Modernizing your network, equipment, and hardware eliminates threats to your business that, if left alone, can snowball into significant issues. However, how do you know if it’s time to update your technology infrastructure?
Here are 12 signs that it may be time to upgrade your network, and the risks of not doing so.
1. Are You Getting Page load errors?
If you notice error pages popping up on desktops and wireless devices, it may be a sign that you need to upgrade your network. While the drop in connectivity may be short-lived or quickly resolved with a screen refresh, it increases user frustration and dissatisfaction, while decreasing productivity. Temporary fixes include:
- Moving closer to the router or wireless access point.
- Restarting your wireless router and modem.
However, neither option is suitable for repeat performance issues. Long loading times and the need to hit refresh are signs that you may need to upgrade your network.
2. Are slow speeds during busy times causing apps to crash and screens to freeze?
A noticeable decrease in speed during peak work hours can be a sure sign that WiFi or a network upgrade is needed. During busy times, more apps crash and data-hungry software programs disconnect. A staff that can’t access critical data during a client phone call or has an outbox full of messages that won’t send is detrimental to your company.
Unfortunately, smartphones and devices also put pressure on your network throughout the day. A report by the NPD Group finds, “the average U.S. smartphone user consumes a total of 31.4 GB of data on a monthly basis.” Furthermore, mobile users access streaming video, which accounts for “83% of the total data used by smartphone owners.”
Are you willing to shift work hours or force staff to use their personal data plans to save bandwidth? If not, then upgrading your network and hardware is the only option to avoid downtime. Smart features allow you to dedicate bandwidth when and where it’s required.
3. Do sales, marketing, or engineering dashboards crash?
Real-time data is crucial in today’s business environment, which is why employees require access to sophisticated software on a variety of devices. For example, your staff needs critical information when speaking with customers, interacting with teams, and updating accounts. When data-heavy applications such as customer relationship management software and engineering dashboards crash, then you risk:
- Employees making decisions without up-to-date information
- Customers sensing a disconnect on the phone or email.
- Decreasing productivity due to longer wait times for vital repairs to systems.
With Deloitte reporting, “70% of respondents believe workers will spend more time on collaboration platforms in the future,” ensuring seamless connectivity results in strong enterprise growth.
4. Are you having issues with video conferencing and presentations?
More companies rely on voice over IP (VoIP) like video conferencing to close deals and connect staff. Video is bandwidth-intensive, and its usage is only increasing. According to a Global Video Conferencing Market Analysis, “the total video conferencing market is on a high growth trajectory and is forecast to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 12.1% from 2018 to 2023 to reach $13.82 billion by 2023.”
Along with video meetings, those participating need to access the network quickly to provide answers. Maintaining a professional relationship with staff and customers requires seamless experiences. If your screen experiences continual freeze-ups, or clients and vendors have difficulty getting and/or staying connected during presentations, it can reflect poorly on your organization. A poor video-conferencing experience is remembered long after the meeting ends and may cause potential clients and customers to avoid future meetings.
5. Is your IT team voicing concerns over security issues?
Security is an ongoing issue that affects your company’s critical data, along with your relationships with customers. Coveware’s Q1 Ransomware Marketplace report finds that in Q1 of 2019 the average,
- Ransom increased by 89% to $12,762.
- Downtime increased to 7.3 days.
Often, older business WiFi network equipment isn’t supported or updated by the manufacturer. This leaves IT teams struggling to secure networks. If your firmware is outdated and new versions are unavailable, then upgrading your enterprise-grade technology is essential. Current security protocols with robust encryption algorithms prevent advanced hacking and the dreaded ransomware attacks. Updated networks also provide better access to controls and security technology. One sure-fire way to avoid future obsolescence of your network and WiFi hardware is to make a move to managed WiFi. A managed WiFi provider will take care of equipment, network configuration, and maintenance, freeing you up to focus on your business and ensuring you always have a smooth, steady connection for everyone that needs it.
6. Are devices on the server no longer connecting?
If you’re seeing a line of people waiting for their print job to go through, then you’ve got a problem. Today’s connected office environment relies on the shared use of equipment. Dissatisfaction and a loss in productivity occur when teams can’t access printers, scanners, and hardware or repeatedly deal with error messages.
Employees print from smartphone devices, desktops, and various software programs. While a direct connection helps, it’s not always possible. Instead, increase your equipment’s response time by upgrading your network infrastructure.
7. Are you expanding the use of IoT?
With Business Insider reporting that there will be “more than 64 billion IoT devices by 2025,” the chances are that your organization relies on a variety of connected devices. From video hardware and software to alarm systems, each device requires a strong and reliable signal.
Multiple devices not only affect network performance, but they also produce massive amounts of data. In fact, Cisco predicts, “IoT devices will generate data that exceeds 800 zettabytes,” which is equal to 800 trillion gigabytes.
Until you notice a drop in connectivity, then you may not realize how much bandwidth your automated systems and tools use. Upgrading your equipment to include dual-band routers allow you to dedicate bandwidth to critical devices and ensure seamless operations.
8. Do employees complain of office dead spots where they can’t connect?
Employees move from desktop to mobile while working on their projects. Plus those on your sales team and other departments may use Airdrop to share time-sensitive information from their mobile. According to GlobalWorkplaceAnalytics.com, “Fortune 1000 companies around the globe are entirely revamping their space around the fact that employees are already mobile. Studies repeatedly show they are not at their desk 50-60% of the time.”
If parts of your office can’t connect to your business WiFi, then instead of mobility, you’re tying staff to their desks. The risk to your business includes a higher turnover rate. A Jive Communications survey on turnover finds, “72% of respondents said that fast in-office technology is important.” Plus, 21% would leave a job that didn’t provide fast connections.
Address network connectivity problems with a heat-mapping tool. It identifies problem areas so you can update your technology infrastructure and keep your team happy and productive.
9. Is your reliance on SaaS and cloud applications increasing?
IDC data shows, nearly half of IT spending was cloud-based in 2018, “reaching 60% of all IT infrastructure and 60-70% of all software, services and technology spending by 2020.” Furthermore, “Software as a Service will be the largest category of cloud computing, capturing more than half of all public cloud spending in 2019.”
Corporations rely on web-based tools for everyday tasks across departments. If your technology infrastructure can’t handle it, then network overload occurs. These applications are crucial to daily business operations. Upgrading your aging wireless infrastructure ensures that everyone on your team can access critical data throughout their day.
10. Are employees using storage devices rather than trusting the network for backups?
Backups are vital to businesses, which is why enterprises use automated services to make it easier. Unfortunately, if your service can’t connect or complete a download, then you may be left with corrupted files. Today’s backups include large digital files that are media-heavy requiring increased bandwidth and speed to get the job done.
11. Are your clients and customers requesting or complaining about WiFi access?
77% of Devicescape survey respondents rated “customer-facing WiFi as important or very important to their business. Many described it as a competitive requirement.” If your infrastructure can’t handle the increased demand for business WiFi use from customers and clients, or if you have concerns about the privacy of data, then it’s a sign that an update is necessary. After all, can your organization afford to deny access to clients to save bandwidth?
Alleviate concerns about speed and security by upgrading your hardware and network. Plus, you’ll strengthen customer relationships by providing a strong WiFi signal and reliable branded experience.
12. Is office productivity is dropping?
Communication plays a vital role in operations. Every minute of downtime increases the risk of employee disconnect and a loss of focus. Each of the signs of a business WiFi issue can also lead to a drop in employee productivity.
- Perhaps you’ve noticed that your networking managers and IT teams spend more time managing their crisis response instead of optimizing the system.
- Employee reports may show a decline in productivity during peak hours.
By prioritizing network devices for mobile traffic and upgrading your WiFi and network infrastructure, you’ll help your team build, update, and operate more efficiently. With the promise of fast enterprise-grade internet, comes a need to manage the digital experience. By upgrading your WiFi and IT infrastructures, like speed, bandwidth, hardware, and network, you’ll deliver an impressive user experience. However, updating an aging wireless network also protects your organization from hackers while ensuring that your IT team can optimize your system for the future.