Stop Taking WiFi Networks for Granted
by Joe Michalowski on

 Bring your own device (BYOD), digital transformation, consumerization of IT—all of these trends and buzzwords have changed the way enterprises do business. But there’s one IT system that takes the brunt of the pressure from these trends: the WiFi network.

It wasn’t too long ago that WiFi networks were a luxury in the workplace. But things change quickly.

Today, without WiFi functioning to the best of its ability, employee productivity suffers. And while WiFi permeates both our work and personal lives, providing and managing it in the enterprise is easier said than done.

As much as we rely on WiFi networks, it’s not enough to just set it up, add a few wireless access points around the office, and hope it runs at peak efficiency. We can’t take WiFi for granted anymore.

WiFi Expectations Have Changed

Even though it’s clear that we’re asking more and more from WiFi networks, employees and IT teams alike have failed to match expectations with reality.

A decade ago, there was a clear tradeoff in the minds of end users—high-quality, consistent connectivity while tied to a desk, or freedom of mobility with spotty WiFi connections. However, expectations have rapidly increased.

As end-user expectations for WiFi networks increase, IT has struggled to keep pace. According to a survey from ZK Research, 64% of employee-reported network issues are cited as poor WiFi problems. In many cases, IT spends at least 30 minutes to diagnose the issue and another 30 minutes to troubleshoot. This may come as a surprise to IT teams, who would prefer to spend time managing more complex systems.

The need for change is becoming increasingly clear, though. There are limits to the number of devices and bandwidth your WLAN can support, but there’s really no choice but to push the envelope. At a time when internet-connected business applications are critical for workforce productivity, the difference between a slow app and a high-performing one can be millions of dollars in revenue.

To avoid any lost productivity in a distributed enterprise, IT teams need to have the right tools and processes in place to keep the WiFi backbone up and running consistently.

Taking WiFi More Seriously in IT

When you hear “stop taking WiFi for granted,” do you immediately exclude yourself from the group of IT teams that have fallen behind the business’s WiFi management needs? Despite your best efforts to maintain high WiFi performance, the numbers speak for themselves.

The ZK Research survey found that network admins are only able to preemptively identify WiFi problems 43% of the time. This means that the majority of WiFi issues are discovered only after employees report them. But we all know that many employees avoid help desk tickets unless there’s a significant problem.

Your workforce might be suffering slow app performance due to poor WiFi connections for days or even weeks before you ever hear about it. When connectivity is so important to business performance, you can’t afford to have a reactive approach to WiFi monitoring and troubleshooting.

The real reason WiFi troubleshooting gives IT so much trouble is that admins often don’t have enough visibility into packet-level activity. However, WiFi performance is just one symptom of visibility issues. If you want to learn more about supporting a distributed enterprise, check out our free white paper, How to Solve the Top IT Issues at Remote Locations.

Filed Under: Networking Technology, Performance Monitoring

Tags: end user experience , WIFI , WIFI monitoring