What Can WiFi Do For You?
More and more around the New York City Subways, you are beginning to see signs that state "This Station is Now WiFi Connected". Beyond putting in basic cellular antennas in subway stations, the Metro Transit Authority is looking to go the extra mile by adding actual joinable open WiFi networks in Subway Stations across the city. The NYC Subway isn't the only ones getting in the act. Walk into any Library or Starbucks in the city and you will be presented with an option for free WiFi with very few questions asked.
Questions in this case usually mean a service acknowledgement or willingness to watch an advertisement from a sponsor of that particular network, but the concept here is clear. With each passing fiscal quarter, the barriers between your device and an accessible WiFi network are coming down. Even cell phone companies are starting to realize that there might be a market to make the mobile phone industry more competitive.
Given these trends it is safe to say that your business will look neanderthalic if it does not have a WiFi network accessible for its employees. This goes for companies of any size, be it fortune 500 institutions right down to tiny startups. In today's economy everyone is carrying a mobile device be it one issued from the employer or brought in by an employee so the unavoidable fact is that you NEED good WiFi in your office. In fact, beyond a WiFi network for your employees, it could be very good for business relations to have a public WiFi network that can be used by guest and personal devices. These little touches can go a long way toward moving the image of your business in a more legitimate and professional direction.
Of course, no endeavor in the world of online connection is without risks. It seems that every week there is a news story about a data security breach. This week it's about banks. If not secured correctly, your WiFi Network can be a major point of weakness in your IT security strategy. When setting up your network or networks, NEVER leave them as open networks. It's important to always require a password, even if you want to make it a simple one for your guest network. Second, though it may be a hassle for your users, it's important to have a schedule to rotate the wireless passwords so that legacy devices are not able to stay on the network and hog precious bandwidth. From there, your company can decide how complex and inclusive they want their WiFi network to be. It can be as simple as internet access, or fully integrated behind your firewall allowing for more mobility for your users. Not matter what form your network takes, it is an expense of doing business today. You don't really want your users running down to the subway to check their e-mail... do you?