In the business world, the need for a consistent, fast connection to the internet is more important than ever before. Whether a business is using a wired GPON connection or a wireless access point to connect to the internet, the strength and stability of that connection are crucial for day-to-day operations. Communication between clients and other businesses is key to staying ahead in the 21st century, as not being able to meet needs as quickly or as efficiently as possible often spells the death or slow decline of a business. Losing one's connection to the internet or encountering a service disruption may lead to a loss of productivity.
Fortunately for businesses, a great solution exists already to provide exceptional wireless connectivity to the internet. This solution comes in the form of enterprise-grade Wi-Fi. Enterprise Wi-Fi has several benefits that set it apart from standard, home-grade Wi-Fi setups. Some of these benefits will be covered in this article, so keep reading for more information.
Wi-Fi Protected Access, also known as WPA, is a type of network security protocol. WPA is designed from the ground up to incorporate advanced authentication and encryption into its design structure. This security comes in the form of a protocol called secure sockets layer, or SSL.
Described in its most basic form, SSL operates by encrypting data; a user viewing the encrypted data as-is will see the data as a random mix of nonsensical characters and numbers.
After encrypting the data, SSL uses an authentication process known as a handshake to communicate with another device. The handshake process is used to signal to the other device that it is a "legitimate" device that can safely be trusted.
Upon the handshake being initiated, a digital "signature" is obtained from the receiver. This comes in the form of SSL certificates distributed by a certificate authority, such as IdenTrust or GoDaddy. If you ever encounter a website that starts with HTTPS:// instead of HTTP://, this means that it uses an SSL certificate to authenticate.
What this means for you and your employees: when connecting to your business's wireless access point, your employees will be required to authenticate using their credentials to connect. This leads to the benefit of...
Unlike a generic wireless password that anyone can use to connect to a wireless access point, enterprise-grade Wi-Fi can create a separate, non-guest service set identifier (SSID). An SSID, or the name that shows up on a shared network list) is both username and password protected. This alone comes with a few benefits.
Firstly, this gives you the ability to monitor which devices and users are wirelessly connected to your internal network at any time. Passive network monitoring will allow for easier access to troubleshooting any issues related to network security.
Secondly, this will limit who has access to specific information internally. This means you can grant permission to your business's intranet and relevant documents from those who are properly authenticated and those who are not. You can also, as a result, eliminate specific user access at any time, which is excellent to eliminate the risk that employees you have offboarded from your business no longer can internally access your internal network.
Finally, you can provide quicker network speeds to users who are authenticated. This means that you can throttle (i.e., limit) network speeds for guests, with the trade-off providing your employees with speedier access as a result.
It should come as no surprise, but commercial-grade access points are more capable than consumer-grade access points. When comparing commercial vs. consumer-grade access points, several factors should be considered when determining if it will be a good fit for a business.
Predictably, one of the significant limitations of a single, consumer-grade access point is that they are limited in the number of devices that can effectively connect to it. On average, consumer-grade access points can handle 25 to 50 devices before degradation of service kicks in.
However, network degradation is not a concern with enterprise-grade wireless access points, as your options are much greater than with consumer-grade access points. Your business, in theory, will be able to handle an indefinite number of connections.
The primary consideration regarding enterprise-grade Wi-Fi is that wireless access points will need to be installed to provide the required amount of coverage your building requires. House of I.T will be able to assist with network infrastructure management, however, so this will not be a concern you and your business will need to worry about.
Wireless network connectivity is something that almost every business has incorporated into its operations. With the increasing number of network breaches and hacks reported regularly, however, the need to protect your business from would-be criminals and disgruntled and fired employees is more significant than ever.
With the enhanced security procedures it provides, paired with its benefits with overall service and network load balance, enterprise-grade wi-fi is an easy decision for most businesses on the market today.
Here at House of I.T, we have extensive knowledge and hands-on experience consulting about and installing enterprise-grade wi-fi. If you are interested in implementing or learning more about enterprise-grade wi-fi, we would love for you to contact us to set up a free consultation to see if it would be a good fit for your business. We can assist with network infrastructure design, optic networks, network infrastructure services, and more. We hope to hear from you soon!