What is the difference between a good wireless network and an excellent one?
Lets set the scene:
You have a wireless network and an open plan office with plenty of hot desks, and you have a fair number of visitors and mobile staff – a large sales force for instance, or an agency environment maybe.
They arrive at your office, plug in their laptops and take their company issued mobile phone (smart phone obviously) out of their pocket. They then pop their iPad on the desk and begin to work.
How long is it until they ask for the WiFi password for each device? How easy is it for your network to accommodate this diverse group of devices and such sudden bursts in WiFi usage?
You are the owner of a large retail / hospitality company, and you want to give your guests the opportunity to access the internet while in the store / hotel / restaurant.
How can you do that securely and simply? How can you rest assured that all your guests are getting the same experience across the wireless network?
The truth is that anyone is capable of installing a Wifi solution. Get yourself a provider, a few access points and a router (or whatever else you need) and away you go.
Is this the most successful thing for your business?
Sure you can implement the need to sign in or use a password, collecting some useful data for your marketing and sales teams in the process. But you can do more..
The Sexy Stuff
Are you aware of Cisco Meraki?
Ok for those that don’t know I will quickly explain:
Cisco Meraki is wireless network management and security that can be administered and monitored from the cloud.
You get fast deployment, simplified administration and rich visibility of application and device usage to help you easily provision how your network works.
You manage it all from a simple web portal too, from anywhere; basically it is great technology.
Ok actually that wasn’t that sexy, but this bit is.
Cisco Meraki allows you to pick up a whole load of data that gives you the ability to drive your business forward from your WiFi network.
Don’t believe me?
The Office Scenario:
Imagine being able to simply accommodate any device into the WiFi network without any security concerns. Bring Your Own Device becomes less of a problem and more of an opportunity.
Imagine being able to quickly view the types of applications the devices on your network are accessing. And then simply control the access and allocation of resources for said devices and applications – perhaps limiting certain social media to lunch hours, or restricting all games from iPads?
Imagine being able to put in the access points, download the configuration from the internet in minutes, and have a configured and secure WiFi network operating in your business? No more complicated architecture and sprawl to control.
The Retail Scenario:
Picture being able to allow for guests to your stores to sign in to the WiFi via Social Media. Automatically “checking in” to your location, letting their friends know where they are and boosting your brand recognition across social channels.
What would you be able to do if you could view a “heat map” of where people are in your store throughout the day? That new visual display you installed may not be generating the interest you thought it was – now you know if people are stopping and admiring or just walking past.
The Hospitality Scenario:
Imagine being able to simply provision for thousands of guests on thousands of different access points from a central management screen. How many man hours of IT management could that save?
What would it mean to be able to automatically load bear your WiFi usage across the devices, accommodating power users and peak moments? Think of how your users’ experience greatly improves.
This is the difference between a good network, and a great one!
Told you it was sexy!
If you want to find out more about how Cisco Meraki works, then I strongly recommend you jump on a live webinar:
They run them daily, and everyone who comes gets a free access point to test out for themselves.
At the moment (10th April 2014) they are giving away their new Triple-Radio Access Points (2.4 and 5GHz, 600mbps throughput, 802.11n) to anyone who comes to one.
We would love to hear from you regarding your WiFi challenges too, how are you configuring it? How does it cope for your business needs? What works best for you?