Top 5 Mistakes Small Businesses Make With Their WiFi + Poll

Henry Bevan, September 11, 2020

Secure, speedy WiFi is as essential to modern businesses as having a bank account.

However, setting it up and ensuring it runs optimally are often dismissed as simple, quick and easy tasks that don’t require any expertise.

It’s perhaps because of this that so many businesses run into trouble with their WiFi, which results in frustration and inefficiency.

To help, ITEC is going to run you through five of the most common mistakes workplaces make with their WiFi…

Ready? Let’s dive in…

5 Mistakes Small Businesses Make With Their WiFi

1. Using Out-The-Box Set Ups

We all know the saying, ‘failing to plan is planning to fail’ - and it’s certainly true when it comes to WiFi in the workplace.

Too often, no planning whatsoever takes place. Many small businesses simply buy and install an entry level router and consider the WiFi sorted. If it works in their home, why wouldn't it work in their office?

However, usually it doesn’t take long for the router to become overloaded and for speeds and connectivity to slow right down. Out-the-box setups are not designed for lots of users or devices, making them slow and frustrating.

How to avoid it

It is essential that a complete audit of the site is carried out by experts as a first step when installing WiFi. This is so that a map can be drawn up, factoring in things like access point locations, signal strength and potential interference, to ensure the WiFi works as it should once installed.

2. Bad Access Point Placement

Access points (APs) are network devices that connect wireless devices together to form a wireless network.

They are the key to a strong, fast, reliable WiFi connection. If they aren’t placed in a suitable spot within the workplace, signal strength can really take a nosedive.

It should be something that all businesses take great care to consider when installing WiFi, but often it isn’t.

Ideally, you want your access points placed in high traffic areas with little coverage crossover with the other APs. If this isn't the case, it's possible team members will struggle to connect to the network and become unproductive.

How to avoid it

Pay attention to your physical infrastructure. Access points should never be placed next to or close to concrete beams, metal fixtures, brick walls or even cupboards. Instead, look for spots higher up within the workplace as often this reduces the chance of access point problems.

3. Not Prioritising Security

When your whole business is run on a WiFi network, it makes sense to ensure that network is as resilient and secure as possible.

However, what frequently tends to happen in workplaces is that security comes as an afterthought. Installing some basic antivirus software won't prevent hackers and viruses.

Also, opting to use a personal security mode opens businesses up to risk. Using one password for all employees will become a headache and you will have to change it every time someone leaves the company.

To keep your business safe, security should be factored into the strategy for building and installing your WiFi infrastructure from the word go.

How to avoid it

It is worthwhile bringing in experienced WiFi Engineers to ensure your WiFi is secure. One of the biggest priorities should be ensuring anywhere where data is stored - from computers to email software - is encrypted. This means the data will be gobbledygook without the password to decrypt it.

Also look at using AI and machine learning to run a root-cause analysis. This will troubleshoot issues and prevent them from happening again.

4. Ignoring Upgrade Reminders

We’ve all tapped ‘ignore’ when a reminder has popped up on our phones to tell us a new software update is ready to be installed - and no harm has come from it.

However, when it comes to WiFi networks, upgrades and updates are two things workplaces should never be complacent about. Outdated software and firmware — access points and connecting devices — can slow your network down. Luddites might grow attached to their current technology, but everyone else will become frustrated.

Running an efficient WiFi network is an ongoing commitment. Upgrading and updating software and firmware is important to keep the overall network running smoothly and increasing performance.

How to avoid it

Consider a managed WiFi service from ITEC. This can give you peace of mind that all upgrades and updates are taken care of, and that your WiFi network is in safe, experienced hands.

5. Not Splitting Public and Private Networks

We wish we could trust everyone, but that is unfortunately not the case. Small businesses are particularly fond of Bring Your Own Device policies — where team members use their personal device for work purposes — as a way to keep costs down. However, it's hard to know what is on that device, and as most security breaches happen by accident, zero trust policies must be put in place.

This threat is amplified if other companies visit your premises or if you're a shop or cafe handling hundreds of visitors. Potentially, your business data and network is opening itself up to unnecessary threats.

How to avoid it

Set up a guest network to split traffic and protect the your business network. Guests can connect to the internet and their internet-first applications without accessing your important business data.

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Interested in getting your small business' WiFi under control? Talk to ITEC today about the best way to make sure your WiFi delivers better outcomes...

 

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