Do you have problems with the WiFi in your office? It’s a common complaint. Many small businesses use the hardware provided by their Internet Service Provider. Some are savvy enough to know they need more. They run down to a big box retailer or “office supply” store and purchase a WiFi router offering better performance and features. Despite these efforts, they still experience WiFi issues. Why?
Ultimately, retail stores sell WiFi hardware designed for home or home office use. It will work perfectly fine in most residential and lightweight settings. Unfortunately, that same hardware falls short in a business environment. Here are a few differences between enterprise WiFi and consumer WiFi routers.
WiFi Performance & Stability
Every WiFi router is basically a small computer handling all the traffic on your network. It has CPU, memory, and storage that determine how well your router performs. The typical WiFi router in your home can handle around 4-5 users and should last about 2 years.
Your usage occasionally taxes the hardware and performance begins to degrade. Sometimes it may even lock up. You can reboot your router, and the problem seems to be resolved… until at some point it happens again.
Enterprise routers can handle dozens of users and are built to last at least 5 years. This equipment rarely locks up and is quite reliable. Manufacturers rigorously test these devices to ensure that they will handle the loads they’re designed to accommodate.
If your business is dependent on the Internet, a service outage can bring your business screeching to a halt. We recommend secondary internet service to prevent these situations. An enterprise-grade WiFi router offers failover capability. This feature detects any service outage and gracefully moves traffic over to the secondary service. When the primary service comes back online, the router switches back. Most clients won’t even notice the change. Typical consumer hardware can’t handle this feature at all.
Historically, home WiFi routers are designed to sit on a shelf or desk within a home. They work well within the drywall and wood confines of your home. Many commercial environments include materials that will interfere with your WiFi signal. Enterprise hardware can be expanded to improve performance everywhere. Consumer WiFi routers have begun adding this capability to newer hardware lines, but it doesn’t perform quite as well the enterprise version.
Not surprisingly, enterprise-grade WiFi equipment costs more than consumer-grade WiFi equipment. Most of the time, people resort to using home WiFi equipment in an effort to save money. In the long run, this decision doesn’t pay off.
You wouldn’t buy a golf cart to use as your daily vehicle. Sure, it will get you there, but the performance and longevity will never compare to an actual car. Just like cars, there are a wide variety of choices when it comes to enterprise equipment.
If you’re experiencing WiFi issues or just need help with figuring out what steps to take, contact us. We can walk you through the process and help with installation and setup. Just request a consultation below to get started!