What is WiFi as a Service?
Nowadays, people just expect WiFi to work—period. They don’t really care how it works, but they do expect it to always be available, be extremely fast, and always secure.
Much like electricity and running water, wireless is a necessary utility, and individuals and companies are becoming increasingly dependent on it to be productive, efficient, and happy.
With more and more applications moving to the cloud, when your WiFi goes down, your business goes down with it.
We’ve all been there: your wireless network goes down, and suddenly your business is thrust into the Upside Down—a cold, dark shadow of the way things are supposed to be, complete with angry monsters (aka frustrated end users).
At SecurEdge, we’ve been deploying large-scale wireless networks for eleven years now, and we’ve learned a lot. We’ve seen companies make big mistakes, investing money in wireless products and networks without the right design or a plan for future growth.
We’ve also seen wireless and mobile technology completely blow up and transform the way people live and work. Our big takeaway is this:
There is a better way for businesses—of all sizes, across every industry—to purchase fast, secure WiFi systems. That answer is by using managed WiFi subscriptions, also known as WiFi as a Service or WaaS.
Let me explain why.
So What Is WiFi as a Service?
WiFi as a Service is a subscription-based service that combines three key elements: infrastructure, software, and managed services.
With WiFi as a Service, we have taken our proprietary methodology—developed over the last eleven years designing and installing large-scale wireless networks (on average 450 access points per deployment)—and packaged virtually every aspect of a high-performing, secure WiFi network into one end-to-end solution.
Our subscriptions includes:
Infrastructure – All of the hardware and equipment, from access points to firewalls, and even your ISP if needed.
Managed Services – 24/7 remote monitoring and troubleshooting of configuration issues, executive dashboards with weekly/monthly reporting. Firmware upgrades and advanced options such as onsite support SLAs and application level bandwidth controls/analytics.
Our WiFi as a Service plans are flexible. There are two primary routes you can take: You can either a) purchase the hardware or equipment with a large one-time payment and then purchase managed services using a monthly subscription, or b) purchase everything through WiFi as a Service.
The first option might work for large companies with big budgets who want to own their own infrastructure.
However, the second option is what we really recommend, because it addresses the relatively short life cycle of a high-quality wireless network and the devices that are connecting to it.
Owning your own infrastructure might sound appealing, but in a few short years the hardware you own won’t be worth much, if anything at all, and you’ll have to start from scratch again (more on life cycles below).
By using a subscription model, we are able to address the most common obstacles associated with enterprise-grade wireless networks:
- Cost: This is the biggie. Purchasing the infrastructure and software for an enterprise-grade wireless network can make for one very large up-front capital expense, not to mention the ongoing costs associated with hiring highly specialized and skilled engineers to maintain everything after it’s been deployed. But with WaaS, you will be able to purchase everything you need, end to end, without having to compromise on performance/scope or even if you're on a tight budget.
- Short life cycle: How often do you upgrade your smartphone? The average user gets a new phone every 12-18 months. And typically after two life cycles, the technology in your pocket is completely different. That means that wireless networks start to become obsolete after just three years. At that point, you’re looking at a totally new WiFi design and new infrastructure, which can be very costly. With WiFi as a Service, you can upgrade alongside the technology as it changes so you always have the latest system in place.
- Expertise: Wireless is a highly specialized skill-set. You can’t expect your IT department to have the training and experience necessary to deploy and maintain large-scale wireless networks. At SecurEdge, that’s all we do! We’ve deployed over 1,000 wireless networks over the years, and we’ve got it down to a science—with a touch of art. Rather than try to hire someone with the necessary skill set—and pay them a correspondingly high salary—why not subscribe to a service that comes fully staffed with experts.
- Security: In the old days of wireless, we used to be able to own and control every device that connected to the networks we deployed. But with hundreds of millions of smartphones just in the United States, we have to approach network security differently. In general, a lot of the devices accessing your network will not be owned by your business, but you still need to know who is accessing your network and what they are using it for. With a subscription, your network will always have the latest wireless security infrastructure and best practices in place to keep up with changing threats.
When you partner with a managed WiFi service provider like SecurEdge, your company gets access to all the technical expertise required not just for designing and deploying your wireless network, but also for securing, monitoring, and updating it on an ongoing basis. Basically, we make sure you stay out of the Upside Down (Hi, Barb!).
Subscribe and Save
Subscription-based models are changing the game across so many industries. Think of Netflix and Hulu: they continue to upgrade their offerings by developing and curating new content, while you continue to pay one monthly rate for the service. You don’t have to concern yourself with the details of how the content reaches you; you just turn on your streaming device and enjoy. And if you want to upgrade to an ad-free experience, there’s a premium option for that.
Or Amazon Prime: for one annual fee, you get “free shipping,” which really means they’re folding all the costs associated with getting products to your door into one manageable rate.
How about Office 365: Gone are the days of having employees using different versions of Word or PowerPoint. Now you simply purchase a monthly subscription, and everyone always has the latest improvements.
The list can go on and on.
With subscription-based solutions like WiFi as a Service, purchasing secure WiFi is no longer complicated, stressful, or a budget nightmare.
Ready to get started? Contact us here to find out more.
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.