Wi-Fi is still the fastest and most reliable way of connecting to the internet wherever you are.
Although 5G is providing increasing mobile internet speeds, Wi-Fi is still top when it comes to internet connectivity.
Or at least it should be.
Many businesses and internet consumers are not getting the best possible service they can get when it comes to the internet.
From slow speeds and poor security to shared bandwidth and faulty routers, there are still many downsides to most common Wi-Fi solutions.
To get the best out of your internet you need Managed Wi-Fi.
What Is Managed Wi-Fi?
Over the last 2 decades, businesses have typically got Wi-Fi in the same way most consumers get it.
An internet connection runs into your property and you use a Wi-Fi router as an ‘access point’ to distribute that wireless signal.
Businesses with larger premises will usually have multiple routers and a switch which moves the signal to each router.
The main downside with this approach is that as a device moves further away from the access point the internet signal weakens and won’t disconnect until you lose signal completely.
Your experience of the internet will be poor and you’ll probably experience slow load times, and even interrupted connectivity as your device attempts to connect to another, better signal.
Managed Wi-Fi Always Gives You The Best Signal
With managed Wi-Fi, the internet is distributed by an external provider to different points in your building.
It automatically swaps your device’s connection to the access point with the best signal so you’ve always got coverage. Devices also won’t drain their battery trying to find good Wi-Fi signal meaning you can make better use of a connected IoT network.
Because it’s managed by an external service provider there’s no onsite support or maintenance required. This means no fiddling about with dodgy routers and no need to keep buying more routers to try and improve your chances of getting a good connection.
There are a number of other ways that it can seriously benefit your business or organisation.
All of the features below may apply to your business but we’ve grouped some together based on how valuable they will be to that sector.
Restrict User Access And Provide Extra Services
Don’t you wish you had some control over how much internet access people in your building have?
Managed Wi-Fi gives building managers this control, meaning they can distribute levels of access appropriately.
We’re not talking about Big Brother levels of totalitarian control. This is just about giving people the level of access that is relevant to them and reducing issues for other people on the network.
Here’s some examples of where and how that might work.
Retail and Hospitality
A simple example is a small café that wants to provide guest Wi-Fi.
You want your staff to have access too but don’t want them using the same internet in order to improve security.
Equally, whilst you’re happy to provide free internet to paying guests, you don’t want them abusing that privilege.
With managed Wi-Fi you can set up two different levels of access, one for staff and one for customers. The customer one might have limits on the type of content they can consume and how much data they can use.
This example could also apply to shops, hotel lobbies and more.
Building and Office Managers
Another type of business that can make great use of managed Wi-Fi is shared offices and co-working spaces.
The speed and reliability of the internet here is pretty pivotal to the ongoing success of the business.
The ability to manage user access in different parts of the building also presents you with an enviable income stream. Tiered membership plans or rental agreements could include access to different internet download speeds for example.
In private offices the same situation could apply except with different levels of staff. It makes sense that the manager or executive would have a greater level of access to the internet than a junior member of staff.
Monitor Usage And Track Visitor Trends
Monitoring data usage and user trends is also a huge benefit of managed Wi-Fi.
See how many people are using the network, when they’re using it and what for. This will in turn help you to provide a better service.
Some managed WiFi solutions also allow you to monitor footfall across your coverage area as well, allowing you to see how many people visit your business or walk past as well as helping you understand how people move around your building.
Councils and tourist attractions could make particularly good use of this.
Council Spaces and Tourist Attractions
Council run spaces like libraries, parks and even city-wide Wi-Fi hotspots can monitor how many people are using the Wi-Fi and how the service can be improved.
Museums and other visitor attractions can also use this as a way of monitoring visitor numbers and seeing how many people are repeat visitors. Do you need to increase or possibly even decrease the level of access people have when they visit your attraction?
Custom Landing Pages
Something that has benefits across all cases mentioned above, is the ability to create custom landing pages for your business or organisation.
When people log on to your Wi-Fi, they will see a specially branded landing page or log in screen. You’ve probably seen one if you’ve logged onto the Wi-Fi in a Costa or McDonalds.
These landing pages can improve the user experience and also collect user data to streamline their use of the network in the future.
It also gives you an opportunity to direct them to content you’d like them to see or is necessary to see, so they’re aware of the guidelines for using your network.
Get Ahead Of The Game By Using Wi-Fi 6
The appeal of managed Wi-Fi is only increased by the fact that a lot of providers use Wi-Fi 6.
There’s been plenty of talk about the release of 5G mobile internet across the world, but Wi-Fi has recently seen a major upgrade too.
Wi-Fi 6, the latest standard of wireless internet connectivity is capable of delivering 4 times the capacity and performance of the previous standard. This could be as much as 4.8 Gbps from each access point.
Not only will you get better signal within your building but you’ll also receive much faster internet speeds in the first place.
Cisco Meraki Is Our Recommended Solution
The best solution on the market we can think of is Cisco’s offering. Their Meraki and Meraki Go access points are an effective way of putting managed Wi-Fi in your building.
They use Wi-Fi 6 and will allow you to set up a fast connected network in your building that gives you all the features we’ve outlined above.
For smaller businesses in the retail and hospitality sectors, Cisco Meraki Go is an easy to use, plug and play, all in one system. Access points, network switches and an intuitive mobile app to help you monitor it are all included.
We’re Cisco partners so if you want to know more about how you can get this in your business, get in touch.