Understanding managed Wi-Fi: How it works and why it’s important
You have seen a number of people now taking their laptops and notebooks to the neighbourhood coffee shops to work while sipping coffee and watching people. But are these remote workers getting the high-level connectivity they need for their meetings, research and office presentations?
As a service provider looking to offer network solutions to small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) and small to medium enterprises (SMEs) like the friendly neighbourhood cafes, you can deliver a realm of digital transformation to your customers that promises growth, reliability, and security with managed Wi-Fi. How? With the deployment of a seamless managed Wi-Fi solution tailored to their business requirements and optimised for performance enhancement.
In this blog, we’ll guide you through the intricacies of managed Wi-Fi, from its definition to the benefits and factors to keep in mind. Whether you’re just entering the managed Wi-Fi market or seeking to enhance your offerings, understanding its nuances is key to success.
Let’s explore what managed Wi-Fi entails for service providers:
- What is Managed Wi-Fi?
- How Does Managed Wi-Fi Work?
- The Benefits of Managed Wi-Fi
- Best Practices for Managing Wi-Fi Networks
- Considerations for Implementing Managed Wi-Fi for SMBs
- Is Managed Wi-Fi the Right Addition to Your Service Portfolio?
What is Managed Wi-Fi?
Simply put, managed Wi-Fi is a holistic networking solution designed to simplify the lives of SMBs. It involves taking the responsibility of Wi-Fi network management off the hands of your SMB subscribers and placing it squarely on your shoulders. You become their Wi-Fi partner, ensuring that their networks run seamlessly and securely.
Imagine a scenario where a local accounting firm needs a fast, secure and reliable Wi-Fi connection for its staff and customers. Managed Wi-Fi allows you to step in and provide a turnkey solution. You assess their needs, design, and install the network, configure it for optimal performance, and handle ongoing monitoring, maintenance, and troubleshooting needs. You empower the firm with the technology they need to focus on their core business and thrive without burdening them with the complexities of network management.
How Does Managed Wi-Fi Work?
For service providers, the process of delivering managed Wi-Fi can be addressed in two ways – custom and turnkey.
Custom managed Wi-Fi
Custom managed Wi-Fi is a tailored approach to managing Wi-Fi networks that are typically offered by managed service providers. With custom managed Wi-Fi, you must execute the following steps:
- Assess: Start by conducting a comprehensive assessment of your SMB subscriber’s network needs. As part of this assessment, you will need to evaluate their network size, coverage areas, and performance demands.
- Design and Install: Based on the assessment, design a customised network that caters to the SMB’s specific demands and requirements.
- Configure: Configure the network to ensure that all devices can connect effortlessly.
- Monitor and Maintain: Proactively identify and address issues to ensure minimal downtime. Regularly maintain and update the solution to keep the network running smoothly.
- Support: When issues inevitably arise, your dedicated support team is there to provide 24/7 assistance. Swiftly resolve problems and ensure uninterrupted connectivity for your SMB clients.
Turnkey managed Wi-Fi
Turnkey managed Wi-Fi is a ready-to-use, built-in solution provided by managed service providers.
As a productised offering designed to streamline network management for SMB subscribers, the turnkey managed Wi-Fi solution eliminates the need for complex assessments, customised designs, and intricate installations. It arrives pre-configured, tailored to specific needs, and ready for swift, non-disruptive deployment.
This type of managed Wi-Fi solution takes care of everything, from network configuration and security settings to continuous monitoring, maintenance, and 24/7 issue resolution. Robust security measures and full compliance with industry regulations are built-in, ensuring data protection and peace of mind. Simplify network management, enhance security, and enjoy seamless connectivity with hassle-free turnkey solutions.
The Benefits of Managed Wi-Fi
As a service provider, understanding the benefits of managed Wi-Fi is key to effectively conveying its value to your SMB subscribers:
Managed Wi-Fi services are highly scalable, enabling SMBs to effortlessly expand their network and coverage as their operations grow. This eliminates the complexities associated with DIY solutions, ensuring that their network never becomes an obstacle to the growth of their business.
Monitoring, Reporting and Support
Managed Wi-Fi services offer many benefits, including real-time security and incident updates and robust monitoring capabilities. By offering 24/7 monitoring and expert support, you provide your subscribers with peace of mind as you can resolve issues promptly to minimise disruptions.
Managed Wi-Fi delivers faster, more reliable internet connectivity, enhancing SMB productivity and customer satisfaction. In turn, this improved performance translates to streamlined operations and a heightened service quality.
Safety and Security
In a time when there is an ever-present danger of cyberattacks, it becomes crucial to protect your network against these threats. One of the key benefits of managed Wi-Fi is its advanced security measures that have been designed to safeguard SMB subscriber data.
The flexibility of managed Wi-Fi allows you to tailor each network to meet the specific needs and objectives of your SMB subscribers. This tailored approach ensures that their network aligns perfectly with their business requirements, fostering efficiency and adaptability.
Best Practices for Managing Wi-Fi Networks
The best practices for a broadband service provider targeting the small and medium-sized business (SMB) market revolve around delivering reliable, high-quality internet services while also offering excellent customer support. Here are some key best practices to consider:
Regularly Update Firmware
Firmware updates contain security and performance enhancements. By keeping devices up to date, you can ensure that any vulnerabilities are addressed, reducing the risk of security breaches while maintaining optimal performance.
- Optimise Wi-Fi Coverage: Poor or no signal can create frustration. Ensure seamless connectivity throughout the premises by addressing dead spots and weak signals.
- Segment Your Network: By segmenting your network, you can enhance security by isolating critical systems from general network traffic. Not only does segmentation improve cybersecurity, but it can protect vulnerable devices and improve operational performance.
- Monitor and Manage Traffic: Proactively monitoring and managing network traffic allows you to identify and address unusual patterns or potential issues. This enables you to act quickly and maintain network stability and security.
- Implement a Guest Network: A guest network provides secure access for visitors while maintaining the integrity of the main network. By implementing a guest network, you can prevent unauthorised access while offering convenient access to visitors.
Enhanced Security and Encryption
Encryption scrambles data so that only authorised personnel can unscramble it to access the data. Strong encryption methods protect SMB subscriber data and ensure privacy.
Regularly Review Administration Rights. Limiting access to network administration rights to authorised personnel only ensures that no unauthorised changes are made. Regular reviews and adjustments ensure that access remains in the hands of trusted individuals, reducing the risk of any security breaches.
Considerations for Implementing Managed Wi-Fi for SMBs
Before implementing managed Wi-Fi for SMBs, as a service provider, you need to evaluate whether it aligns with the needs of your business. Here are some factors to consider:
Understand the market
Before offering managed Wi-Fi services to SMBS you need to understand the wider market as this plays a crucial role in capitalising on the available opportunities.
Offering managed Wi-Fi solutions to SMBs is a significant revenue generator because not only do these organisations require reliable high-speed internet, but they are willing to pay for it. By understanding the demand for this service you can serve this diverse market segment and increase your customer base and revenue streams.
When researching the market, you also need to be aware of regulatory incentives that encourage you to extend your service into underserved areas. This is something to consider when evaluating where to offer your services as it can impact your market reach and growth potential.
Lastly, it’s worth noting that small business customers can help you optimise your infrastructure, leading to reduced costs and enhanced performance. By supporting local businesses you can enhance your reputation and community relations.
Foster long-term relationships
Fostering long-term customer relationships is another key consideration. Small businesses need continuous support, which in turn can create a stable income stream. By acknowledging this, service providers can gain a competitive advantage by differentiating themselves through offering customised packages and delivering excellent customer service.
SMBs may be more interested in broadband packages if they are offered as part of a comprehensive solution. With this in mind, broadband can be bundled with other services such as phone, cloud storage, or cybersecurity solutions.
Scalability is another aspect you need to consider. By capturing growing, small businesses at the start of their growth journey you can gain valuable data insights and opportunities to cross-sell additional services.
Is Managed Wi-Fi the Right Addition to Your Service Portfolio?
Managed Wi-Fi presents service providers with an opportunity to expand their service portfolio and cater to the growing demand for hassle-free networking solutions among SMBs.
If you’re ready to empower SMBs with reliable connectivity, enhance their security, and simplify their network management, managed Wi-Fi is the answer. Explore how incorporating managed Wi-Fi into your offerings can transform your business and open new avenues for growth. It’s not just a service, it’s a partnership that helps SMBs thrive in the digital era.
Get in touch with us to discover how to make managed Wi-Fi a strategic part of your service offerings today!
About the Author
JT Taylor is responsible for developing and driving all product marketing, sales enablement, and thought leadership initiatives for two areas of the Synamedia portfolio: Synamedia Go, an open, modular, and flexible streaming video platform; and Gravity, a device management platform that can simplify the management of subscriber’s whole home network. When he’s not wearing his marketing hat, JT is an avid golfer and pseudo musician.