How to Purchase WiFi: 2 CAPEX Challenges and How to Solve Them
No matter what industry you’re in today, you really have to provide wireless, one way or the other. As more and more applications move to the cloud, and more of your employees and guests are bringing mobile devices on to your network and expecting a fast, secure experience, WiFi is now essential to your business. If your network goes down, your business goes down—it’s that simple.
So, if Wi-Fi is no longer an “if” but a “how,” what are your options for purchasing wireless?
Traditionally, businesses have purchased secure WiFi as a capital expense. However, this poses two massive challenges.
Below we’ll cover what those challenges are and how WiFi as a Service is now your easiest solution to solve both.
Challenge 1: Uneven or “Lumpy” Service
This problem can plague any business or organization that anticipates any sort of growth or expansion.
It looks like this: every time a new building or wing is added, you install new wireless infrastructure in that facility. Meanwhile, the infrastructure in other parts of the building, floor, or campus is left untouched.
To illustrate what this problem can look like, let’s take a college campus for example.
Suppose you just built a brand-new dorm, and as a part of the new building you decided to install brand new wireless inside that building as well.
However, now the old administrative building that’s next to the dorm has different, outdated technology in place.
This creates a strange dynamic: WiFi in the new dorm is blazing fast and never cuts out, but WiFi in the dean’s office is slow and unreliable.
Depending on where you are on campus, you have drastically different WiFi experiences or service levels.
This might have been fine at one time, when WiFi users generally were connecting in one place with one device, but nowadays, we each carry two or three mobile devices wherever we go, and we expect to move from one place to another seamlessly.
We expect to have the same wireless experience across a building or campus. WiFi users no longer have patience for spotty, or lumpy, service.
What’s the opposite of lumpy? Smooth and consistent—this is what’s expected nowadays of WiFi.
And when it doesn’t live up to user expectations, your IT department will be busy fielding complaints and trying to keep their heads above water.
Challenge 2: You Will Have to Keep Going Back to Ask for More Money
Trying to raise the capital for new wireless infrastructure for your business can make you feel like Lucy asking Ricky Ricardo for extra allowance so you can buy a new hat.
You: “We need to raise money for Wi-i infrastructure. WiFi is critical to our business operations, and we need to make sure our WiFi is fast, secure, and reliable.”
CFO: “But I just funded that project three years ago!”
You: “Aw, Ricky!”
For the executives holding the purse strings, this refrain of “We need more money for WiFi infrastructure” can be confusing and frustrating.
Didn’t we just pay for that?!
Why do CFOs and key decision makers experience WiFi whiplash when they have to constantly revisit the question of funding new a wireless network?
Well, for starters, you can blame that little device in your hand that you’re replacing every eighteen months to two years.
The constant upgrading of our mobile devices makes it difficult to keep our WiFi networks up-to-date and properly aligned with the technology it’s there to support.
You really can’t expect to get more than four to five years out of your WiFi network before it needs to be upgraded—and these refresh cycles are only going to get shorter as technology continues to evolve at breakneck speeds.
When you capitalize your WiFi purchase, not only do you have to go through the difficult process of funding the project (over and over again), but you end up owning infrastructure that’s not going to be worth anything in a few short years because it can’t support the newest mobile technology.
It’s a never-ending cycle that’s inefficient at supporting today’s mobile-first landscape.
A Better Option: WiFi as a Service
So, if purchasing wireless infrastructure every few years as a large capital expense is causing lumpy service or budgetary problems for your company, what’s the solution?
Business leaders are going to have to start thinking of WiFi as a mission-critical utility, just as crucial as electricity and running water.
When you think of WiFi as a service rather than a product, you can start to factor it into your ongoing budget, and it becomes an operational expense.
The question becomes: If WiFi is essential, like power, then how much do I need to budget to make sure my WiFi is always on and working?
When you think of WiFi as just part of operating your business, you can plan for it on an ongoing basis, rather than raising one large lump sum every few years.
The mental shift required to purchase wireless infrastructure as an OPEX rather than a CAPEX is not going to be easy for some business leaders and decision makers. But it’s a key shift that businesses will need to make in order to stay competitive, and quite frankly, operational.
When SecurEdge first started back in 2006, our efforts mainly involved setting clients up with a fast, secure wireless infrastructure, which they would purchase up front.
The client owned the hardware, and we engineered a design and deployed it for them. This was in the very early iPhone days, when the primary purpose for enterprise Wi-Fi was to provide company-owned, Windows devices with a wireless connection in select areas, such as conference rooms and individual offices.
Fast-forward to today, and we have taken everything we’ve learned and observed since those early days of WiFi, factored in the trends we’re seeing and the need for a service-oriented approach to WiFi, and launched SecurEdge WiFi, our WiFi as a Service platform.
Watch the whiteboard video below with CEO and Founder of SecurEdge, Philip Wegner, to learn more about how SecurEdge Subscriptions can benefit your business.
Whether your business is trying to deploy WiFi for the first time, add it to a new building, or troubleshoot and resolve problems with your existing wireless network, it’s important to consider how you buy as well as what you buy.
Dana Adams blogs regularly for SecurEdge and other tech companies. She believes technology should serve people, not the other way around. When she's not blogging, you'll find her enjoying the outdoors with her family and two rescue dogs.