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How can I pick the right WiFi provider for my business?

Keep in mind that your internet connection is vital to your business. As such, you need to work with the right provider that can give you the support you need without compromising on quality, speed, and reliability.

Consider the following pointers:

  • Current and future needs — Do you intend to have plenty of video conferences? Do you need both public and private networks? What are the online activities that you’re going to need today and in the future? Do you rely heavily on cloud storage (if not, do you foresee doing so in the future)? Your WiFi service needs to fit your business strategy, whether you intend to stay small or expand fast.
  • Budget — Shop around for the right solution to your needs, but also for their corresponding costs. Look at your budget, so you can see which provider you can realistically work with.
  • Security — Does the provider fit the security protocol you have in place? Do you provide the devices to your employees or will they bring their own? Can the ISP guarantee security to the devices you’ll use?
  • Equipment — The wrong equipment can easily derail everyone’s internet connection. Customers may feel frustrated (which will reflect badly on your business) and your staff’s production will slow down. Make sure your ISP can provide the proper equipment to handle business needs.
  • Scaling — What if you suddenly need to hire more employees and add more devices? Your ISP should have the capacity to scale with you, when you do decide to expand.

Date posted: 1 July 2019  –   Categories:

How can I secure my business WiFi connection?

There are a number of ways you can do this:

  • Change the default login information of your router/s
  • Regularly update your passwords
  • Share private network passwords only with your employees
  • Change your default network name (SSID) to a more custom name, so potential hackers wouldn’t find out the make and model of your router
  • Download security patches
  • Use WPA2 and not WEP, as the latter is outdated and hackable
  • Install extra layers of security in your devices like firewalls and anti-virus software
  • Disable WPS as it makes it easy for everyone (not just your staff) to connect with your WiFi
  • Place routers in a secure location, so it won’t be accessed by the wrong person

Date posted: 1 July 2019  –   Categories:

How can I make sure that my WiFi can cover every area in the office?

Signal reception may vary, depending on how far you are to routers and the presence of any physical barriers (e.g. wall material, water pipes). Other networks in adjoining offices or neighbours may also compete with yours. Signal interference coming from office equipment like microwaves can also disrupt connections.

To prevent signal disruption, do the following:

  • Get the right router — Routers can either broadcast on 2.4 GHz or 5 GHz frequencies. WiFi connections on 2.4 GHz routers can go through walls and other obstructions, while connections on 5 GHz routers can slow down or be blocked easily.
  • Set up strategic router points — This will depend on your office size. Small offices or small storefronts can work with 5 GHz routers, as you likely won’t have any obstructions. However, if you have a large office or store with several floors, then a 2.4 GHz router will work best. Avoid placing them next to walls or areas where there are multiple obstructions.
  • Use more routers — It’s also possible to have more than one router, especially for large spaces with unusual layouts.
  • Managed WiFi — Consider working with an ISP with a managed WiFi service. They can use specialised software to help you map out the right layout for maximum efficiency in internet use. They can also tell you how many routers you need, identify areas with high internet usage, and pinpoint any possible dead spots. They can then configure these access points, so every location in your office will have good coverage.

Date posted: 1 July 2019  –   Categories:

How can I decide how much speed I need?

The answer depends on a few factors:

  • Activities — How much activity do you anticipate to have? With more data going back and forth, the more speed you’ll need. For instance, if it’s just simple internet browsing, social media use, and emails, you’ll need low to medium speed. But if it involves streaming, cloud use, and video conferences, then you need medium to high speed.
  • Number of users — More employees, whether you have them now or planning to hire more in the future, means you’ll need more bandwidth. Without enough to work with, the entire office may be put to a grinding halt when someone is on a video conference or one employee needs to upload huge file sizes.
  • Number of devices — With more devices also comes the need for more speed. You should count every device that will connect to the internet, not just laptops and desktops, including phones, tablets, etc.

Date posted: 1 July 2019  –   Categories:

Will WiFi help with office productivity?

Yes, it will. People these days prefer to not be tethered to one place when working. Perhaps you have conference rooms or break rooms. You may even need to conduct meetings in other areas where wired connections may not be possible.

With WiFi, you and your staff will be able to work anywhere they feel comfortable to do so. It also promotes collaboration, as they won’t be tied to their desks and can talk with the rest of the team.

Date posted: 1 July 2019  –   Categories:

How can I set up a public WiFi hotspot?

A hotspot is any location in your office or store where people can access your internet. To create a public hotspot for your customers, you should:

  • Set up a guest network — We’ve mentioned the benefits of having a separate guest network in the previous point. Make sure that the password is secure, enable WPA/WPA2 encryption (for an extra layer of security), and turn off your private network’s SSID (so customers won’t see it).
  • Set up a captive portal — A captive portal will prompt customers to enter their email addresses/phone numbers, pay a fee, accept the terms and conditions, and/or provide your password so they can have WiFi access. This will let you limit your liability in case customers conduct any illicit activities, limit the amount of bandwidth people can use, and provide more data security. You can create this in your access point’s setup menu.
  • Provide passwords — Some establishments allow for free WiFi service access, while others don’t. This is ultimately a business decision. You can let anyone access your guest network or limit it to paying customers.

Adding a hotspot gateway can be done via hardware or a router with special firmware. You can either purchase the hardware yourself or sign up with an ISP with the additional hardware and support that you’ll need.

Date posted: 1 July 2019  –   Categories:

Why do I need separate network configurations for private and public use?

This depends on the amount of traffic that you anticipate your network to handle. If you have a storefront, it’s generally a good idea to have separate networks—one for the public and the other for private office use.

Separating guests from business networks will allow you to:

  • Continue business operations without getting affected by customers who take up a lot of bandwidth due to downloading or video streaming
  • Apply special settings to each Wifi service network (e.g. limit customer use)
  • Stay secure, as the public (especially hackers) won’t have access to your internal network

Date posted: 1 July 2019  –   Categories:

What are the benefits of business WiFi?

WiFi service is one of the top options for business connectivity today, as it provides a two-pronged advantage to the organisation.

On the one hand, people do not need to be tethered to their desks to continue working, giving them flexibility and promoting better collaboration. On the other hand, customers love spending more time in stores with strong internet connections, allowing for more purchases and helping with brand recall.

Date posted: 1 July 2019  –   Categories:

What is Fibre Optic Cable Made From?

The use of fibre optics for networking is becoming increasingly common as fibre technology provides greater speed and reliability than the traditional copper alternatives. But what exactly is fibre optic cable, what is it made from and how does it work?

Fibre Basics

The cables are made up of thin strands of fibre; these are formed of either glass or plastic. The fibres are surrounded by a cladding which has a mirror coating on the inside – we’ll come to why in a moment. Finally, there’s an outer sheath to protect the cable from damage.

The cable transmits data as pulses of light which travel down the fibre. Light, of course, likes to travel in a straight line, but cables need to go round corners. This is the reason for the mirror coating which allows the light pulses to bounce from side to side as they pass along the fibre.

The major advantage of using light is that it is not subject to electrical interference as the signals on a copper cable may be, so it can be used in ‘noisy’ environments without problems. It also allows faster data transmission speeds.

Types of Fibre

Just as there are different standards of copper cable, fibre optic cables too can vary. Types commonly in use are:

  • Single mode
  • Multimode
  • Glass
  • Plastic

Single mode fibre, as its name suggests, offers just one path for light to travel. This means it can offer reliable, fast transmission over long distances – typically gigabit speeds up to five kilometres. Multimode fibre has multiple paths, this is more commonly used for internal networking, offering gigabit speeds at distances of up to 500 metres or so, whereas single mode fibre is typically used to provide backbone services over longer distances.

Traditionally, fibre cables have been made of glass. This is generally robust and offers fast transmission speeds. However, it can be damaged if bent too sharply and needs specialist skills to cut and splice. Glass can be used for a variety of wavelengths of light, including infrared.

Plastic fibre cables tend to be larger in diameter and transmit light at different wavelengths – usually visible to the naked eye. This used to be at the expense of slower performance, but the latest materials make this less of a problem. Plastic is cheaper and it needs less specialist handling than glass as it’s easier to cut and fit connectors.

While glass is still preferable for use over longer distances, plastic is becoming more common in everyday applications. This is because it is more robust and easier to install as well as cheaper. That said, glass is still preferable in particularly hostile environments and it is less likely to degrade over time.

Date posted: 1 September 2017  –   Categories:

Can Speed Loss Occur in Fibre Optic Cable Networks?

Fibre optic cabling is generally chosen over copper for its greater speed and reliability. But can speed loss still occur on fibre networks? The answer is yes it can, although the problem is far less severe than with other cabling methods.

Causes of Speed Loss

Degradation of speed on a fibre cable is generally caused by either distance or by a problem with the transmission of the light source. Fluctuation in the LED or laser light can lead to scattering, which affects the integrity of data transmission. This problem gets worse over longer distances.

Similarly, the longer the cable, the more chance there is of the light signal degrading over time. Both of these issues can be overcome by adding signal repeaters at intervals to boost the signal through the fibre optic cable.

Other variables come into play too. For example, the number of splices or joins in the cable and the types of connectors used can all play a part in the performance of a fibre optic link. The networking equipment itself and the transmitter power are important too. Optical power is measured in dBm (decibel milliwatts) while signal loss is measured in decibels (dB) – the same measure that’s used for sound. Manufacturers of fibre hubs and other kit will tell you the transmission power of their devices.

Armed with this information you can work out the likely level of loss. Just to recap, losses can be a function of:

  • Cable length
  • Number of connections
  • Transmitter power
  • Quality of signal source

Calculating Losses

There are ways in which you can determine the amount of loss likely in a fibre optic circuit. An experienced installer will be able to carry out a test known as an Optical Loss Self Test (OLTS). This involves using a light source at one end of the circuit and an optical meter to measure the signal at the other.

The loss rate for fibre optic cable is a function of its length and the manufacturer’s spec sheets should tell you this. In addition, each connector also introduces an element of loss. Typically connectors on fibre optic cables, whether single mode or multimode, should have loss levels somewhere between 0.3dB and 0.75dB. You can, therefore, work out a ‘loss budget’ based upon the number of connectors and the length of the cable.

On a short point-to-point cable this might be around 1.5dB. On longer cables, with multiple connection nodes, it could be considerably more. Your installer should be able to advise you as to an acceptable level. Losses higher than this and you need to look at taking steps to boost the signal via installing repeaters.

Date posted: 1 September 2017  –   Categories:

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“The team at TVNet are always very accommodating in order to achieve the results we want without impacting upon our students.  The work is always completed to a very high standard.”

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TV Net
2020-02-21T11:51:26+00:00
“The team at TVNet are always very accommodating in order to achieve the results we want without impacting upon our students.  The work is always completed to a very high standard.” Justin Haskins, IT Manager
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