In today’s world, it’s a given that businesses depend on the WiFi network. From communicating with a remote office across town or even across the world, to monitoring manufacturing equipment and responding to customers’ questions and complaints, the WiFi is everywhere. As this dependency only shows signs of growing, the health and performance of the network are now critical factors in determining overall business performance and operational efficiency. Safeguarding the business now requires safeguarding the network.
With hundreds or thousands of different connected devices to monitor, IT teams are outnumbered. It’s no longer possible for humans to monitor and analyze network data in real-time, not with thousands of data packets sent every second. Optimization becomes even more difficult when you factor in the intermittent nature of most WiFi issues, as well as the fact that many IT teams are responsible for multiple locations. If an issue occurs at a site where IT isn’t currently working, problem resolution is delayed until IT can either get onsite or contact someone onsite and try to talk them through identifying and then resolving the issue. When a delay in resolution is less than ideal for business operations, businesses need WiFi Automation.
What is WiFi Automation?
WiFi Automation platforms automate the monitoring and management of the WiFi network. They work alongside WiFi infrastructure, complementing the monitoring provided by AP management platforms. While these platforms focus on a business’s network, WiFi Automation platforms provide a holistic view of the entire RF environment. This includes the network and all connected devices and infrastructure, but it also includes any nearby networks that are operating in the same airspace as well as non-WiFi sources of interference. By monitoring the entire environment in which the network operates, WiFi Automation platforms can be counted on to significantly reduce the Mean-Time-to-Resolution as well as the number of WiFi problem tickets submitted to IT.
Here are a few things to think about when choosing a platform.
How does it alert IT?
Automation platforms are in place to identify any issues before end users are affected. This proactive response allows IT to resolve issues faster – but only if the platform alerts them that there’s a problem. Find out when and where a platform posts issue alerts, and what information is included with the alert. Best case scenario is working with a platform that will identify the root cause of the issue and provide suggestions for resolution so that IT can address the issue immediately.
Does it provide non-stop monitoring?
WiFi issues can occur at any time, day or night, and are often intermittent. To truly provide network optimization, the platform should monitor the RF environment 24/7. This includes when no one is onsite, and in addition to any other tasks that the platform might provide (such as network testing). IT teams need complete visibility into the entire environment in order to provide a reliable and consistent network for all business processes.
Is it vendor agnostic?
You want to work with a platform that will keep working no matter how your business changes. Not only does this provide continuity with uninterrupted network analytics, vendor agnostic devices are also great in the case that your business has different locations that work with different AP and internet vendors. With vendor agnostic support, IT teams only have to learn to use one WiFi Automation platform.
Does it provide remote access?
IT teams aren’t always onsite. This can be because they are responsible for multiple locations, or it might be because something has made travel impossible – such as weather or a long-term work from home order. Whatever the situation, if IT has remote access to the network and can troubleshoot and resolve issues from any location, a business saves time and money. Not only do travel costs disappear, or at least diminish, but issues can be resolved faster, which puts operations back on track faster.
Simplify the Complex
WiFi networks are much more complex than older wired networks thanks to the explosion of IoT devices, BYOD policies, and networks’ mobile nature. To stay ahead of the challenges that naturally come with managing such a critical resource, work with a WiFi Automation platform and introduce simplicity to the optimization process.