New technologies may enter the market every year, but the last thing you want to hear is that you constantly need to update your wireless network to keep pace. Truth be told, this doesn’t make any sense and is absolutely not how you should operate. While none of us are time travelers with exact knowledge of the future, it is possible for us all to design wireless networks with the future in mind. These networks can support current needs, as well as provide optimized support for years to come.
Here are a few tips to bring these optimized networks to your office.
1. Capture Analytics 24/7
One of the best ways to prepare for the future is to know exactly how the network is being used now, how infrastructure is performing currently, and how those analytics have changed over time. This gives you the information that you need to grow your network in the specific ways that it needs, rather than simply responding to market trends.
For example, WiFi 6 (802.11ax) is new to the market. It might seem like a logical step to upgrade to the newest generation of WiFi technology, but WiFi 6 might not make the most sense for your network. This technology was mainly designed to address WiFi issues in highly congested areas like stadiums and airports. Your office might fall into this category, but it might not. Network monitoring can give you the answers. Use a monitoring solution to answer questions like:
- What percent of client devices are capable of using WiFi 6?
- What is the WiFi network utilization over time?
- How quickly are new devices entering the network?
Remember, that all non-WiFi 6 devices will have to be upgraded for the full benefits to be felt. This can be time-consuming and expensive. Working with a monitoring solution lets you know exactly how expensive it will be (i.e. exactly which devices, switches, cables, APs, and more must be upgraded), as well as if it makes sense to make the change now. Depending on the analytics, you might be able to push the upgrade out a few years, or you might determine that three of your five offices have a greater need for the technology and should be prioritized.
For the best ROI, and budget and capacity planning support, work with a monitoring solution that provides real-time and historical analytics. As we mentioned above, knowing how network performance and usage have changed over time is critical for making the best predictions for future needs.
2. Build-In Flexibility and Remote Support
Without the right flexibility, a network can quickly become inefficient and costly. To avoid this, design a network with an unknown future in mind. For example, how easily can purchased technology be upgraded? Is it built to adapt to emerging technology bands, or will changes result in outdated and unusable equipment? Are you working with an IoT vendor that believes in open networking and open source technology, or are you locked into a company that might not provide the best support in five years?
A need for flexibility is also why we recommend a network that can be modified, monitored, and supported remotely. It isn’t always possible for IT to be onsite, but the network always needs to provide reliable service. Be sure to have remote capable solutions in place, so that IT can optimize the network no matter the circumstances.
3. Use AI-Driven WiFi Automation
The amount of data we produce from our networks is growing exponentially, and shows no signs of stopping. For most businesses, it already outstrips the amount that a human can consume, process, and analyze. For complete visibility and real-time alerts, businesses need AI Automation.
AI solutions work day and night, 365 days a year, analyzing, monitoring, and managing a WiFi network. They provide detailed insights into the entire network infrastructure, enabling IT to more easily identify and resolve issues, promoting reliable service and improved operational efficiency. As these solutions can analyze 500 devices as easy as 10,000 or more, they provide a cost-effective way to scale and grow all networks.
The Wireless Intelligence Platform (WIP) is the leader in AI-driven WiFi Automation. WIP delivers:
- Historical Device Forensics: All data is saved for easy review. WIP also automatically creates graphs that display health and performance trends over time for access points, client distribution, and airtime and client utilization.
- Synthetic Network Testing: Remotely diagnose and troubleshoot all issues with WIP’s full suite of network tests. Tests run over wired or wireless networks, and WIP automatically sends alerts if any test fails. Tests can be scheduled to run as often as every hour.
- Complete WiFi Ecosystem Visibility: Remove all WiFi mysteries with complete visibility. WIP classifies APs and client devices with device fingerprinting, and uses its AI-based engine to perform behavioral profiling and device pattern recognition. WIP recognizes normal network behavior and provides alerts if that behavior changes.
- Proactive 24/7 Detection, Notification, and Mitigation of Issues: WIP’s automated solution response improves network performance, reliability, and security, thanks to its ability to proactively detect issues and suggest actionable items for resolution.
- Vendor Agnostic Implementation: WIP integrates seamlessly with existing network infrastructure and WiFi service providers, and will continue working no matter what changes in service occur.
Plan For Your Future, Under Budget
The wireless network is the lifeblood of many businesses. These networks must be optimized at all times so that they always provide the required support, and this optimization can’t break the bank. Use these tips to design the best network for your unique needs, one built to provide critical support now and into the future.