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8 Enterprise WiFi Shortcomings

Reliable WiFi is critical in today's enterprise, but the WiFi network can fall short. Here's a look at some of common problems with WiFi connectivity.
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WiFi is no longer a "nice to have" option within enterprises -- it's now the primary form of connectivity for many users. While a wired Ethernet connection is generally faster and more reliable, it forces users to be tethered to their desks. Add to that the fact that smartphones, tablets, and many ultraportables are WiFi-only, and you begin to understand why enterprise WiFi is becoming such a critical part of the overall network infrastructure.

But even though your users may demand a reliable and easy-to-use wireless network, your IT department may not be able to deliver it. There are several reason for this. First, the wireless network may be poorly designed, not maintained properly, or simply in need of an overhaul. Second, policies and procedures surrounding how users and devices gain access to WiFi networks may be poorly written or completely absent, leaving users to figure them out for themselves. Finally, issues can stem from users expecting far more out of the WiFi network than the organization is willing to pay to give them.

In this slideshow, we'll look at eight common enterprise WiFi shortcomings that stem from one or more of the issues discussed above. So while some problems can be fixed by better procedures and/or documentation, others require complete overhauls of the current network in order to fix technical or architectural problems. But any way you look at it, they're all problems that need to be addressed. WiFi in the enterprise is still gaining in popularity, so enabling it should be a top priority.

Please click ahead to review our list of common WiFi weaknesses. If you'd like to add to our list or propose ways to reduce a nagging WiFi issue mentioned, we'd love to hear about it in the comments section below.

(Image: Dean Drobot/iStockPhoto)

 

Andrew has well over a decade of enterprise networking under his belt through his consulting practice, which specializes in enterprise network architectures and datacenter build-outs and prior experience at organizations such as State Farm Insurance, United Airlines and the ... View Full Bio

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Joe Stanganelli
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Joe Stanganelli,
User Rank: Author
12/3/2015 | 4:48:44 AM
Re: Li-Fi
You can always go back to a hard broadband wire.  ;)

There's the conundrum of security: it is at odds with accessibility.
CharlineSau
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CharlineSau,
User Rank: Apprentice
12/1/2015 | 10:36:10 AM
Re: Li-Fi
Well Wifi is not really secure, but there are alternatives right ? 
Joe Stanganelli
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Joe Stanganelli,
User Rank: Author
11/30/2015 | 6:33:56 PM
Re: Residential congestion
Another consideration: Make sure your strongest signals aren't in places where congestion could be a significant problem -- such as major thoroughfares.
Joe Stanganelli
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Joe Stanganelli,
User Rank: Author
11/30/2015 | 6:32:15 PM
Re: WiFi issues
@Brian: At universities, it's always something.  Today, it's social media.  In my day, the watchdogs were busy making their systems less accessible for fears of illegal file sharing.  There's always double-secret probation somewhere.
Joe Stanganelli
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Joe Stanganelli,
User Rank: Author
11/30/2015 | 6:30:35 PM
Re: Li-Fi
@aditshar: That's fascinating.  Tallinn has become a sort of tech capital in Europe (and their President, as I recall, is or was head of a major EU tech commission).  Great research comes out of there and I like to keep up with tech news from Estonia.
Brian.Dean
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Brian.Dean,
User Rank: Ninja
11/30/2015 | 12:59:11 PM
Re: Li-Fi
@Marcia, that is great news as LiFi has a great number of use cases that could improve the efficiency of businesses. Like always, technology is a double edged sword and processes that can be utilized to increase efficiency can also be used to create a LED Incapacitator (a weapon that causes headaches, vomiting, nausea and disorientation, etc.).
MarciaNWC
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MarciaNWC,
User Rank: Strategist
11/30/2015 | 11:52:00 AM
Re: Li-Fi
That's amazing @aditshar. Look out for a blog about Li-Fi here next month; one of our regular contributors is planning to write about it.
Brian.Dean
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Brian.Dean,
User Rank: Ninja
11/30/2015 | 10:40:44 AM
Re: Residential congestion
@Andrew, the slide about focusing on dead spots is great as it is easy to assume that users will seek out areas with strong coverage whereas, the opposite should be considered while setting up wireless networks i.e. strong signals should be where the users are located.

I wonder if creating connectivity in an elevator would entail that a non-stationary access point would need to be introduced into the environment.
Brian.Dean
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Brian.Dean,
User Rank: Ninja
11/30/2015 | 10:34:07 AM
Re: WiFi issues
One of the first questions that IT or external connectivity consultants should consider is to identify the intended users of the access points. It is a overgeneralization but for instance, banks setup WiFi connectivity for their employees (primary users) and coffee shops setup a WiFi connection for customers (primary users). And, there are gray areas as well, it might not always be easy to identify the primary user without the support of top management of example, universities might want connectivity for their faculty and restrict access to students (because, social media is distractive for students) alternatively, students might be the primary users of the university (because, social media is extremely constructive). 
aditshar1
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aditshar1,
User Rank: Ninja
11/28/2015 | 8:49:30 AM
Re: Li-Fi
Scientists have taken Li-Fi out of the lab for the first time, trialling it in offices and industrial environments in Tallinn, Estonia, reporting that they can achieve data transmission at 1 GB per second  that's 100 times faster than current average Wi-Fi speeds.
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