Once you’ve experienced the freedom of using a wireless device, it’s hard to go back to being tied down to your desk. How nice would it be to have your office be completely wireless? In years past, this was a dream or something out of science fiction. Now, however, the all-wireless office is quite possible.
Granted, converting your office (which is likely already utilizing Wi-Fi and various wireless devices) to an all-wireless workplace may not be easy. Although, for organizations wishing to make the wireless leap, investing in wireless technologies will prove worth it.
This claim is proven true in a recent study by Cisco via their “Connected Workspace” project. In order to test out the cost-effectiveness of operating a wireless office, Cisco removed allocated desks and offices in favor of hot-desks and meeting spaces that support mobile devices. ITProPortal reports on the project’s bottom line: “The result has been a 30 percent reduction in floor space per person, increased productivity and a saving of $2.5k saving per employee per year.”
For companies with a large office building and large workforce, just do the math. Numbers like this should be tantalizing in regards to what’s possible for your own office.
Of course, transitioning to an all-wireless office isn’t going to happen overnight just because you decreed it. A decision to go wireless needs to be accompanied by a well-thought-out plan that takes into consideration the networking needs of your business (both current and future), security protocols, hardware needs, and more. If you’re serious about transitioning to a wireless office, we recommend starting out by thinking through these four wireless networking challenges.
- The management of your network: Don’t think for a moment that the conveniences of going wireless means that you can take it easy in regards to managing your network. You will still need a comprehensive networking plan, which must include protecting your data from the unique threats posed by having more access points.
- Deploying resource-heavy solutions that use voice and video: Consider the major bandwidth drain your network would experience if every employee used their mobile device to participate in a single video conference. While this scenario is unlikely, it just goes to show that your wireless network needs to be strong enough to handle high demanding tasks such as this during peak hours, lest you experience bottlenecking issues and dreaded downtime.
- Higher user density from having multiple employees with multiple devices gathered in one spot: You’ll also want to account for physical meetings. If your workers are all gathered in one spot and each person is making use of their mobile device, then this kind of demand may cause lag if such a spot isn’t accounted for by placing strong Wi-Fi routers nearby.
- Meeting high user expectations: When implementing a wireless network, you’ll want to avoid spotty coverage and have wireless signal available at every conceivable spot, like the parking lot and even the bathrooms (gross, but true). For the most part, end users have high expectations when it comes to accessing a wireless network. If you make the announcement that you're now an all-wireless office and your team is experiencing connectivity issues while in the break room, you’ll be sure to hear about it ad nauseum.
For most businesses, instead of completely upgrading to wireless technology in one big move, a more prudent approach would be to gradually go wireless as you upgrade your network, piece-by-piece. For example, when it’s time for a hardware refresh, migrate your data to the cloud and replace older workstations with mobile devices.
Whether your office goes wireless as soon as possible, or over the course of the next few years, the fact remains that the future of the modern office is wireless and your business will benefit by taking advantage of this trend sooner rather than later. For assistance implementing wireless technology or overseeing any of your company’s networking needs (wireless and/or wired), be sure to seek out the help of the IT pros by calling (703) 821-8200 today.