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2 Smart Ways Retailers Can Pinpoint What's Causing Their WiFi Problems

Written by Danny Mareco Danny Mareco | May 10, 2017

Competition, we all love it…so long as we’re the ones winning. Online shopping with its ease of use and instant gratification, has created a huge issue for retailers who depend on the in-store, brick and mortar shopping experience.

Enhancing your customer’s experience within your brick and mortar retail location has become even more reliant on Wi-Fi today.

For example:

Wayfinding has become a go to for retailers; providing customers with in-store GPS like directions to product(s) they’re looking to purchase (remember instant gratification).

You can also send promotions and discounts to your customers while they're shopping, further adding to the customized user experience.

Using the right system, retailers can also alert their customers to other items they would be interested in, as well as remembering their interests for the next time (kind of like the cookies or sponsored ads we receive online).

Business wise, retailers are utilizing things like RFID tags and mobile PoS systems, to help staff streamline customer service, and find items for customers more easily, ultimately boosting sales and customer satisfaction ratings.

Some are also using wireless and analytics to measure traffic patterns and footfall, helping them to optimize the in-store layout and determine ATV (Average Value Transaction).

Wi-Fi isn’t a luxury or a “nice-to-have” anymore, it’s a critical system that empowers retailers with the ability to fight the competition of online shopping, by providing:

  • unique contextual experiences
  • retail analytics
  • secure guest and employee wireless access
  • better customer service
  • increased efficiency and productivity

Just like having power, wireless needs to be planned for like a utility, if it goes out your business shuts down until it’s back up and running again.

If you're having problems with the power, you call an electrician; if you’re having wifi problems, you’d call someone like us--an experienced wireless service provider to diagnose and fix your wifi problems.

There are two types of tests we use to properly diagnose and solve retailers wifi problems, WLAN assessments and WLAN performance assessments.

Retail WLAN Assessments

A wireless LAN assessment or WLAN assessment, is similar to a mechanic “popping the hood” of your car.

A wireless network engineer will run a series of extensive tests to gain a thorough understanding of what could be causing poor wifi performance.  

Simply put, it allows us to look at everything and anything that can impact your network both on the wireless and wired side of things.

During the test, we will discover:

  • Which best practices and standards are currently being implemented
    • Physical implementation
      • AP locations
      • Orientation
      • antennas in use
      • cabling
      • switching etc.
  • The current configuration of your system
    • Power levels
    • Channel assignments
    • Data rates
    • Adaptive radio management
    • Tuning
    • Roaming enhancements
    • Load balancing etc.

More times than not, other tests such as a wireless site survey (active and passive) will be performed in combination with the WLAN assessment to gain further insights into your system as well as to locate the source of any problem(s) you are currently experiencing.

Retail WLAN Performance Assessments

Also known as application performance testing or a wifi performance test, a second kind of assessment that can be run to understand what is causing wifi performance issues at your retail location is a WLAN performance assessment.

By using actual client devices that are running on your wireless system, network engineers measure the ‘performance’ of your network from the perspective of the end-user.  

They may use an assortment of devices i.e. smartphones, tablets, laptops, printers, mobile PoS devices etc. that are being used daily by your employees, customers or other guests.

WLAN performance assessments include testing for:

  • Wireless signal
  • TCP & UDP download and upload times
  • Voice call simulation
  • Video streaming
  • Roaming
  • TCP & UDP throughput
  • Ping/Latency

Using the specific devices your business needs to operate every day, offers a unique perspective into what type of user experience your employees and customers are receiving, but more importantly how to diagnose and fix what’s causing any issues. This is what makes WLAN performance testing so valuable.

Next Steps

Whether you’re trying to secure guest access, promote better employee productivity, or just simply enhance the user experience, it’s all pointless without the right wireless system in place.

The challenge is, wireless is inherently complicated, not only to design and deploy but also to support/manage.

When something goes wrong it can be a nightmare to figure out why. However, by working with the right wireless service provider who's utilizing the right tools, it doesn’t have to be anymore.

At SecurEdge, we provide the platform to simplify networking and deliver a fast, reliable, and secure wireless system-–it’s all we do. If you have any questions or would like to discuss an upcoming project, please contact us here.

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