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The Pros and Cons of Wired and Wireless Networks

Posted 12 months ago

Wired vs. Wireless Networks for Businesses

Our world is increasingly going wireless, but businesses thus far have remained primarily wired with their networks. Any businesses that do have wireless networks usually reserve them for their visitors, while employees are meant to use their wired networks exclusively. With advancements in IT, both wired and wireless networks carry advantages and disadvantages for businesses small and large. When you’re establishing or reconstructing your IT network infrastructure, here are a few things to consider before you decide whether to go with a wired or wireless network.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Wired Networks

Pros

Control

With wired networks, you have more control over what devices connect to the network. As a result, you have more control over the security protocols on those devices and the like, making malware infection of those devices less likely.

Security

Wired networks’ security is superior to that of wireless networks. Not only is it harder for cyber attackers to connect and break into a wired network, thanks to the improved control over which devices can access the wired network, you’re also less likely to face complications from a device infected with malware connecting to the network.

Speed

Speeds with wired networks tend to be quite a bit faster than wireless networks, as they are less likely to be affected by walls, other devices, and other forms of interference.

Cons

Maintenance

Maintaining a wired network can be a headache, especially since issues with a wired network don’t have simple software fixes. In order to repair issues with a wired network, your IT department must first determine which wires, routers, or devices are causing the issues before they can begin working on them.

Cable Clutter

The fact of the matter is that wired networks need wires, and with more and more devices, you need more cables. Without proper cable management, you could find yourself in an office cluttered with cables, which can even become a hazard if not carefully installed.

Mobility

With a wired network, your employees are limited to access wherever there is a cable and port available. So, if your employees need to have a meeting in one office, there may be limited cables and ports, and therefore not all of them will be able to access files needed for the meeting. As a result, they may take turns, slowing down the meeting, or they may print out documents, which costs you money and can also prove to be a security risk later on, depending on the type of information your company handles.

Wireless Networks

Pros

BYOD

BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) policies in the workplace are becoming more and more popular, and a wireless network more readily facilitates these policies than a wired network. You can learn about the pros and cons of a BYOD policy here.

Mobility

With a wireless network, your employees can access important files and information from anywhere in the office, so they can bring tablets and laptops into meetings and easily pull up reference documents to discuss. This can bring about a whole new layer to your office’s productivity.

Organization

Plain and simple, wireless networks are just neater since there are fewer wires to worry about, so your office will look more organized. Plus, maintenance is easier since most of it is software-based, not hardware-based.

Cons

Security

Both your bandwidth and your information tend to be more vulnerable with wireless networks versus their wired counterparts. With wireless networks, it is easier for unauthorized individuals to either hijack your signal to use it on their own (which can lead to legal trouble if they do anything illegal using your IP). They can also be more likely to gain access to critical information. Furthermore, most offices that have wireless networks don’t have full control over what devices get connected to the network, so infected devices can access the network and inadvertently transfer malware to your company’s devices. It’s important to be fully aware of any data network security risks before installing a wireless (or wired, for that matter) network and to keep network safety tips in mind.

Speed

Wireless networks are more apt to be affected by outside interference, including walls, other devices, etc. As a result, wireless connectivity speeds tend to be slower than wired network speeds, which could cut down on your productivity.

Wired or Wireless: Which Network is Best for Your Business?

There are pros and cons of both wired and wireless networks, but determining which option is best for your business depends on the needs of your company, the type of information your business handles, and any regulatory restrictions (such as in the medical or financial fields) you may face. Some companies prefer to take a hybrid approach, where they maintain a primarily wired network while using a wireless network for low-importance mobility or for visitors.

If you’re uncertain which is the best option for your business, or if you’re just not sure where to start, Customer 1st Communications can help. We provide expert network installation services that work within your calendar and your budget, and we get the job done right the first time. For a free consultation, call 855-TECH-C1C (855-832-4212) or contact us online.

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