Bad Wi-Fi at work? Change the channel

Recent estimates from Dell’Oro Group state that the global market opportunity for selling Wi-Fi equipment to small businesses will double from £447million last year to £894 million by 2018. Why? Because Wi-Fi currently used by small businesses just doesn’t cut it and improved solutions are sought after. This presents a huge opportunity for the channel. Roger Hockaday, director of marketing, EMEA, Ruckus Wireless discusses.

ver the last five years, Wi-Fi has come to be seen as a basic utility in the workplace. It’s no longer a privilege, it’s a requirement. With more wireless-only devices, increasingly savvy users and mobile business applications needing higher capacity and more reliable Wi-Fi access, small businesses are desperately in need of enhanced Wi-Fi solutions. Historically, providing Wi-Fi solutions to small businesses has been underserved and overlooked, however it’s set to become one of the fastest growing areas within the global enterprise wireless LAN (WLAN) market.

Until recently, most small businesses (typically 1-100 employees in size) have been forced to purchase consumer grade Wi-Fi gear to meet their wireless requirements. They typically install routers in areas that require coverage and, as the workforce grows, more of these low-cost consumer devices are added. However, with this approach, not only does management become a burden, reliability and performance arise as key challenges. ‘Off the shelf’, consumer grade Wi-Fi solutions lack the fundamental features and functionality necessary to adequately meet the growing demand by these small businesses for high quality wireless connectivity.

Another option has been to use enterprise-class WLAN systems. While feature-rich, these solutions are simply overkill for a typical small business; they are way too expensive and technically daunting for these small organisations, which have no dedicated in-house IT experts to deploy these sophisticated systems.

What the small business market craves is a system that bridges this growing gap – Wi-Fi with enterprise-class reliability and pervasive performance, but easy to deploy and manage, and available at consumer-level prices. Most of all, it must be extremely simple to use.

Solutions of this standard are now available, and can put Wi-Fi management into the palm of a user’s hand, radically simplifying the configuration and monitoring process of Wi-Fi networks. These new, powerful solutions provide mobile connectivity and tremendous benefit for both businesses and their customers without them either going broke or crazy, or both. If the channel can tap into these solutions, small businesses can say goodbye to the days of consumer Wi-Fi as the norm. This is a big opportunity for the channel and small businesses deserve better Wi-Fi.

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David Dungay

Editor - Comms Business Magazine