What Types of Network Projects Will Give Us the Best ROI?
upgrading your network. Your network is the highway that all your systems need to communicate and stay connected. Just unplug the wireless router, and most businesses would be at a standstill until they got the internet back. No matter how great your cloud software tools are if a business doesn’t have a fast, secure, and reliable network to access them, they’re not going to do much to improve productivity. So, when targeting office upgrades for the best return on your investment, upgrading your network is a great way to go. Here are some ideas that will end up paying for themselves in several ways.
Use Ethernet Connections for Workstations Just because you have Wi-Fi at your office doesn’t mean you should connect all your devices wirelessly. For any workstations or other internet-connected equipment that tend to stay in the same place all the time, connecting them online via a cabled ethernet connection can significantly increase speed. An ethernet connection doesn’t have to travel through the air, so there is less interference. It’s also more secure for the same reason. Your ROI comes from the ability of employees to work faster because they’re not having to wait as long for pages or online apps to load. Ethernet speeds can be as much as 10x faster than Wi-Fi connection speeds. If you’re able to save your team members just 30 minutes a day through faster connections, for employees making an average of $20/hour, it’s a productivity payback of $200 per month per employee.
Add a Guest Wi-Fi People love free Wi-Fi offered by a business. In fact, 96% of consumers prefer shopping at places with free Wi-Fi. A guest Wi-Fi is more than a way for people to connect online while at your place of business, it’s a great digital marketing opportunity. Guest Wi-Fi welcome screens can be used to:
Sign people up for your email newsletter
Promote coupons and time-limited deals
Nudge a person towards a sale by showing testimonials
Promote a loyalty program How can adding a guest Wi-Fi pay you back? Through more sales dollars! 62% of businesses say customers stay longer due to free Wi-Fi, and 50% of customers spend more money while there.
Upgrade Your Router to Wi-Fi 6 If you’re still using a Wi-Fi 5 router, then you’re missing out on benefits like better security and faster internet speeds. The next router generation, Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax), was introduced in the fall of 2019 and it represents several improvements that can positively impact a company’s bottom line. Security is increased significantly using the WPA3 protocol. This includes added encryption and safeguards that stop dictionary attacks of routers. Two other enhancements that improve speed and reliability have to do with how data packets are delivered and improved handling of bandwidth between multiple connected devices simultaneously.
Go from a Single Router to Multiple Access Points Mesh networks, which use multiple access points for connection instead of just one, help companies improve their network connectivity for all online activities. These types of networks have several “nodes” that devices can connect to wirelessly to get online, rather than just relying on a single router. Benefits of upgrading to a wireless network that uses multiple access points include:
No Single Point of Failure: If one of the access points goes down, your devices are simply transferred to another one and you stay online. If you’re using a single router, then everyone is taken offline if it malfunctions.
Less Interference: With multiple access points sending out internet signals throughout your office, you have a web of connectivity, rather than a signal coming from a single place. This reduces interference from solid walls or appliances that emit waves on the same frequency (like a microwave).
Strong Signal Everywhere: If you use one router for your wireless network, then the office farthest away from the router will usually have the weakest signal strength. This isn’t the case with a mesh network because you can add nodes wherever you like, so every office can have a strong and reliable signal.
Cost-Effective Extension of Reach: Mesh networks are designed to be easily expanded. Want to add internet outside or in a workshop area? All you need to do is add another node to your network and it instantly extends your reach.