12 Common Business Wireless Network Design Mistakes to Avoid
If you’re setting up a business wireless network, you want to make sure it works, works well, and works for as long as it can. Of course, it’s a complex process, so there are plenty of openings where important steps can slip through the cracks and a few things can be overlooked. To help you avoid facing hidden costs, productivity and connectivity slowdowns, and security risks, we’ve compiled a list of the common wireless network design mistakes to avoid.
#1. Omitting Any Kind of Site Survey or Planning Stage
Even if you don’t need a fully mapped out site survey to determine signal, noise, interference, and other factors, you should at least do some preliminary testing and plan your wireless network carefully to determine your ideal access point locations, power levels, etc. Without going through this stage, you are just guessing, and that can lead to subpar connectivity and dips in productivity.
#2. Thinking of Security as an Afterthought
You should never think of security as the last thing on your list. Your network security faces a number of risks, and it is critical to keep your data safe to protect the integrity of your company. Your network security should be integrated throughout the entire process of designing and building your network infrastructure. For some basic business data security tips, click here.
#3. Considering Only Coverage
It’s not enough just to cover your entire office space. You need to consider how your wireless network will perform in high-density areas and the capacity at which your wireless network will be able to run (i.e. how many devices it will be able to handle). You’ll need to make sure you have the bandwidth to accommodate these areas so you don’t end up killing productivity with poor connectivity and performance.
#4. Not Thinking About Future Needs
We cannot stress this enough: technology is ever-changing, and your business should be changing with it. You’ll want to make sure that your system is scalable and flexible enough to handle changes within the next couple of years so you don’t have to do an entire wireless network overhaul every two years or so.
#5. Ignoring Blockages and Barriers
The trick with setting up a wireless network comes in the form of physical obstacles that can mess with the signal. Office cubicles, brick walls, metallic furniture, and other barriers can reduce signal range and cause issues. You might want to consider placing routers higher up (like on a shelf or ceiling) to avoid as many of these as possible.
#6. Not Having Enough Access Points
Another way to get around blockages is to make sure you have multiple access points available. By relying on more than one access point, you not only create a level of redundancy, but you also reduce the chances that one access point is handling too much of the network load.
#7. Overloading the Router
You might think that, as a small business, a consumer-grade router will handle everything you need, but what if your business grows more or more quickly than you expected? Using IP cameras and video conferencing can quickly start to bog down your network and, as more employees and clients are using your network, your router can quickly become overloaded. It might be wiser to go a step up in order to prevent this sort of issue.
#8. Using Defaults
Network name, passwords, router channels, and other features are usually on a factory default when you first set up a wireless network. While the idea of plug-and-play routers may seem like a great, convenient, and quick way to get your wireless network up and running, it’s a bad idea to use these defaults. First off, using the default channel increases the chances of signal interference, so you already could be looking at poorer performance from the outset.
Furthermore, using the defaults could be a security risk, as default network names and passwords can be more easily mistaken, hacked, or cloned. For example, consider if your network name is “DNW341” and there are three other networks nearby that use the same router manufacturer, so they also start with “DNW” and three numbers. Someone with less-than-honorable intentions could easily set up a “DNW” network name and wait until someone mistakes that one for yours, puts in the password, and then the thief has a way into your secure business network.
#9. Ignoring the Router Manual
Do NOT throw away the router manual, as a router problem always has the potential to take your business offline. Even when you have top-notch support, you have to worry about the time it takes for them to get there to look at the issue. If you have the manual, you can have someone working on the problem immediately if it’s something simple enough that the manual covers it. Besides, as previously mentioned, you shouldn’t use router defaults, so having the manual handy is always helpful during the configuration stage.
#10. Letting Your Equipment Fall Out-of-Date
If there are upgrades to software and firmware available, make sure you stay up-to-date for all of your devices on your network. These updates prevent known vulnerabilities from remaining open to cyber attackers, so you want to stay on top of this.
#11. Ignoring the Analytics
Once you have your wireless network set up, you may want to take a set-it-and-forget approach to it, but this would be unwise. A common commercial network design mistake is to ignore the network analytics. How many devices are connecting to your network? What are the peak hours of connectivity? How much bandwidth is being used? This information could be key to determining when to upgrade your system or when you need to make adjustments before serious slowdowns start occurring.
#12. Not Consulting the Experts in Business Network Design
Trying to avoid all of these mistakes on your own, sifting through all of the manuals, jumping through setup hoops, and other hurdles can feel overwhelming, and you want your business wireless network design and setup to be done right the first time. Customer 1st Communications has experienced network specialists who will work with you to create a wireless network design that suits the needs and budget of your business. If you are interested in our network design and installation services and would like a free consultation, or if you have any questions, call 855-TECH-C1C (855-832-4212) or contact us online.