Choosing an Internet Solution for Your Business – Is It Wireless?
Every business is different, but in an increasingly digitally-driven landscape, the need for reliable high-speed Internet connectivity is a mandate that transcends both size and sector. And just as no two businesses are exactly alike, no two connections are either. Each technology, from ADSL to fibre and wireless, comes with its own inherent advantages and drawbacks. In terms of balancing cost with efficiency, however, a vast number of organisations have chosen wireless as the perfect happy medium. Here’s why.
Assess your business needs
Making the right choice when it comes to business connectivity must begin with an assessment of not only what the business requires, but what its requirements are likely to look like in the future. Wireless connectivity comes with several benefits that appeal to a wide range of organisational models and sizes – including reliably high rates of uptime, good potential for scalability as the business grows, convenience, and fast, affordable installation. However, wireless is not without certain drawbacks. It is incapable of the kinds of lightning-fast speeds that fibre boasts (which may be entirely unnecessary, depending on the business’s data demands).
As businesses continue towards full digital maturity, rising bandwidth demands due to increasing use of cloud-based applications and the rise in popularity of bandwidth intensive content such as streaming video, has the potential to lead to congestion that makes wireless unfit for such purposes. However, very few businesses, especially in South Africa, are in dire need of super-charged fibre connectivity, making wireless a still-relevant and desirable solution that balances cost with function in a way that enables digital business growth. But even for those businesses that do require fibre bandwidth, a secondary wireless connection offers invaluable redundancy, ensuring uptime in the event of the loss of fixed line connectivity.
Complement your business’s activities
The modern office is interactive and mobile, and current trends point to the fact that they will only become more so as digital maturity increases. Wireless networks are the perfect companion to futuristic workplaces, because they enable multiple devices to make use of the same connection remotely, as well as share files, enhance communications, and make full, unfettered use of company resources.
As mobile phones, tablets and laptops come to dominate the workplace even more, the freedom to move around within the network becomes critically important, and a reliable wireless connection is one of the best ways to enable that freedom. And while wired internet connections have historically boasted greater security and faster speeds, wireless technology continues to surge ahead in both arenas, making it a great choice for forward-thinking organisations.
If it seems that wireless is the best bet for your needs, then your next goal would be to select the ideal wireless internet connection type. To do that, you need to go back to your business analysis. Do you need asynchronous or synchronous connectivity? If you need to upload a large amount of data on a regular basis, including backups of your files, then you will need the latter.
There are other questions to ask too: How many IP addresses do you need? How soon do you need to be up and running? What are your budget constraints, and what speed do you require? Keep in mind, should the ideal connection be a Point to Point system, it will often take longer to setup than a Point to Multipoint arrangement. It’s all about understanding what you need. Ideally, you should talk to established service providers who can gauge your needs appropriately and scope a solution correctly.
Connection first, carrier second
It’s not just true that no two connection types are alike – the same holds true for carriers. In fact, the wrong carrier could have far reaching ramifications for your business. Your priority should always be selecting a connection that enables your desired business outcomes, but it takes the right carrier to ensure the optimal connection.
A carrier that can offer the most affordable service is a nice luxury, but be aware of carriers that will nickel and dime you, or offer a poor experience, in return. Instead, look for a Tier 1 network provider who can offer the most direct connection between any two points, as well as complete control over their network, end-to-end, guaranteeing uptime, low latency and high performance.
Ultimately, any carrier that can offer a solution tailored to your needs – uptime, bandwidth, latency, etc. – but at scale, is ideal. You also shouldn’t settle for anything less than an SLA. And any carrier that doesn’t make SLAs guaranteeing a persistent, high-level of service the standard for every client should be avoided.
A solid foundation for growth
With the right internet connection fuelling your collaborative, data-dependent activities, your business has nowhere to go but up. For your business, that could be wireless internet; just be sure you know what you need from an internet connection before you even start choosing the one for you.