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Buying Wireless on a Budget (Why Cheaper is Not Always Better)

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Buying Wireless on a Budget (Why Cheaper is Not Always Better)

By: Michelle Pierce December 4, 2018 1 Category: Design

You get what you pay for.

Pick any two: Good. Fast. Cheap.

Nobody ever got fired for buying IBM.

You don’t have to look very far to discover lots of cautionary advice about going cheap on IT.

For companies that depend on their wireless networks, going cheap on WiFi makes about as much sense as buying expired milk at the grocery store.

Wireless Buying Problems Sometimes Start at Home

Since you’re reading this blog post, you’re likely pretty curious about finding a creative way to buy wireless without breaking your budget. Do you want the good news or bad news first?

The good news: If you’re only worried about getting a wireless network into your home, and your only supported “end users” are your family members, chasing after bargain-basement wireless networking might be a legit approach.

After all, maybe your family is different. Perhaps there aren’t three desktops, five notebooks, five smartphones, seven tablets, three smartwatches, eight smart speakers, a dozen wireless security webcams, and four smart televisions competing for your wireless bandwidth. By the way, that was 47 devices on your home WiFi -- or what not so long ago was half the workload of a full-time PC support person’s supported users.

Wireless Hardware Selection and User Experience

Now, what if your end users were in a business environment -- perhaps a small business or medium-sized business (SMB) -- with anywhere from a few dozen to a few hundred supported users. And those same users depend very highly on the reliability, speed, and security of your wireless network.

What happens when your wireless network goes down? Well, let’s just say that things get pretty ugly pretty fast. Phone calls on your VoIP phone system can’t be answered. Live chat sessions on your website are ignored. Emails go nowhere. Basically, you’re losing anywhere from heavy-hundreds to thousands of dollars an hour in actual revenue for every hour that you’re wireless network is down.

If you’re a small business owner or manager that doesn’t use IT very much because you live in the 1980s, be very careful not to project your own habits, preferences, and state of denial onto the rest of your company.

Cutting corners when designing and deploying your wireless network could be a potential user nightmare.

The fastest way to start out with a terrible WiFi experience is when you purchase and implement low quality or inferior wireless networking hardware.

Upgrading Your Wireless Access Points (APs)

When trying to improve wireless networking performance on a budget, there’s another big way that companies end up sabotaging themselves: upgrading their access points.

What could possibly be wrong with investing in some upgrade to your wireless networking hardware?

When you upgrade your access points to the newest generation of hardware, these changes immediately impact the performance of your network and often trigger the need to revisit how the network is designed. For example

● Are your access points now placed in the right locations?

● Are your access points facing the right direction (orientation)?

● Do you have the right number of access points?

So if your primary selection criteria for buying wireless networking hardware is price, you can almost be certain that the three questions above will be completely overlooked. In other words, if you thought your WiFi performance, reliability, or security was bad before the upgrades, you could be going from the frying pan right into the fire.

Hiring the Right Wireless Network Installation Team

When buying wireless on a budget, another big area that trips up many business owners and managers is who actually does the installation.

It’s not hard to imagine why combining poor performing hardware with an inexperienced installation team can be a recipe for disaster.

If you hire the first IT company or person you come across, or simply pick the cheapest, regardless of whether they’re certified, qualified, or experienced in networking or wireless design, you’ll almost certainly end up with a poorly performing wireless network.

In other words, if you pick the wrong wireless network installation company, you may as well take your money and throw it in the trash.

WiFi as a Service (WaaS): The Right Way for Buying Managed WiFi on a Budget

Your company’s wireless networking infrastructure is a mission critical part of your business today. It takes the right level of investment, time, qualifications, and experience for your company to have a high-performing, secure, and reliable wireless network.

And because the complexity of buying and maintaining wireless networks can be both intimidating and overwhelming for companies that don’t have a large, in-house IT team, that’s the reason why SecurEdge WiFi as a Service (WaaS) makes the most sense.

With SecurEdge WiFi, you get access to enterprise-grade WiFi on a subscription basis, that includes all the hardware, software, and managed WiFi support -- packaged into a single, highly cost-effective program:

● Wireless hardware -- including access points, controllers, switches, and firewalls

● Wireless software -- including performance monitoring, guest network management, and end user onboarding

● Managed WiFi support -- including 24/7 monitoring, tier 2 level support, and monthly network health reports

● Pre-scheduled network refresh -- no need to worry about when your wireless network needs an upgrade

● Predictable costs -- no upfront costs; just one monthly payment

The Bottom Line on Buying Wireless on a Budget

For most companies, their wireless network is now as important as utility power, HVAC, and running water. However many executives and managers are living in the past with how they go about researching and purchasing products and services needed for a high-performance, reliable, and secure wireless network.

If you’re looking to buy the right wireless network on a budget, it’s very important to invest some time on your part to know the right questions to ask.

In this article, you’ve learned about the dangers of applying your home WiFi buying habits to your company, why wireless hardware selection impacts end user experience (and productivity), the hazards of just replacing your access points, the risks of hiring the wrong wireless installation team, and the benefits of WiFi as a Service (WaaS) for those buying managed WiFi on a budget.

If you’re serious about finding the right, cost-effective wireless networking solution for your company and want to learn more about how you can benefit from SecurEdge WiFi as a Service, request a design.

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