Why Consumer-Grade WLAN Equipment Is Risky Business

If you decided to open a restaurant, would you take the stove from your home kitchen and the grill from your backyard and use them in your restaurant? Of course not. You would invest in commercial-grade appliances designed to handle high volumes of food preparation.

The same principle applies to a wireless LAN. Consumer-grade WLAN equipment may be adequate for your home network, but if you want a WLAN to meet the more complicated demands of a business environment, you need to invest in an enterprise-grade WLAN.

There are obvious differences between a business environment and a home environment. A business environment has more users and devices dispersed across a much larger area, making it much more complicated to manage and configure. The corporate network must be available at all times with no lapses.

If you can’t connect to your home network, the repercussions aren’t too serious. If you can’t connect to your corporate network, you lose money, business operations are stalled and customer service suffers.

The larger number of users and mobile devices, also contribute to significantly more security risks. Simply put, the stakes are higher in a business environment, and only an enterprise-grade WLAN can ensure that your business runs smoothly.

This begs the question, “Why would anyone use consumer-grade equipment for business?” The painfully obvious answer is that consumer-grade equipment is much cheaper and easier to set up. However, just like anything else, you get what you pay for – and just because you can set it up yourself doesn’t mean you should.

With consumer-grade access points (APs) you’re probably not getting the most recent Wi-Fi technology, and the APs only come with baseline features. Consumer-grade systems are only designed to support a few users, so they tend to run slowly in a business environment.

Enterprise-grade APs have built-in features that ensure reliable, secure wireless coverage. Interference detection, real-time monitoring, rogue AP detection and robust security mechanisms are just a few of the capabilities that make enterprise-grade WLAN worth the investment.

Configuring a wireless network for your business is more complicated than a home network, and with good reason. Consumer-grade systems are designed for ease of use for those who aren’t tech-savvy, using preset and limited configuration options. That’s fine for a home user who just wants to get up and running quickly and cheaply, but it can severely limit the capabilities and performance of a business network.

From a management perspective, consumer-grade APs are meant to be set up and left alone. In a business environment, you have multiple, overlapping APs and a WLAN infrastructure that needs to be carefully managed. Enterprise-grade equipment is designed to support infrastructure updating and troubleshooting to keep your network running efficiently and securely while maximizing performance.

The added features and benefits of an enterprise-grade WLAN make it critical to enlist the help of an experienced systems integrator to help you plan, design and implement your company’s wireless network. This includes choosing applications, mapping out the placement of APs, testing for interference, deploying security measures, and developing management and monitoring strategies.

Let’s discuss how our team of engineers can develop a reliable, efficient, enterprise-grade WLAN for your company.