SD-WAN technology has gained popularity over the last few years as organisations seek to modernise their network infrastructure.
Managed WiFi: The benefits of a Managed WiFi Service
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We live in a digital world where people of every generation want and need to connect. From Baby Boomers to Gen A to Z, within a nursery environment to the boardroom, and now with the rise in demand for Assisted Living Technology, quality WiFi is essential to everyday life.
Whether it’s WiFi for the classroom, your local gym, or a construction site, people expect to be able to connect to a network everywhere, around the clock, and many modern technology solutions rely entirely on robust connectivity. Gone are the days of spotty, interrupted WiFi; it’s almost considered a fundamental human right to log on, access business or project information, or simply for pleasure.
From a business perspective, fast, reliable WiFi brings lasting value.
It facilitates maximum productivity, with tangible benefits such as increased efficiency, encouraged teamwork and improved safety and security.
Businesses must provide an effective WiFi service for their employees, but many are also expected to provide WiFi access for clients and visitors. If you are fortunate enough to have an IT department, they probably spend a good percentage of their time responding to employee pleas to sort out connectivity issues. It’s a full-time job ensuring that the entire site remains connected, security and privacy on the network are maintained, and troubleshooting when there are issues.
By investing in WiFi as a Service (WaaS) for your organisation, this is all taken care of. Plus, additional benefits include reduced capital and operational expenditure, less downtime, and overall gains in efficiency.
So, with no capital expenditure, increased productivity and flexible payment plans among the many benefits, what’s not to like?
What is a Managed WiFi Service?
Let’s start by explaining what it means if you don’t adopt a managed WiFi service. First, your organisation must purchase the required hardware and maintain and manage your WiFi network. This could result in a significant capital outlay, plus you will need to keep the equipment, upgrading or replacing it when necessary.
A managed WiFi service is a subscription-based alternative to buying and maintaining your WiFi network (sometimes referred to in the industry as WaaS).
What process should a Managed WiFi Service provider follow before quoting you for this service?
Before onboarding, a managed WiFi service provider should take the time to understand the client’s requirements completely. For example, what is the network being used for, and what are the facility’s or site’s demands? In addition, they need to identify what devices will be used onsite and how many will be connecting to the network at any one time.
They should conduct a complete wireless survey to review security, density, coverage, signal strength indicators, and signal-to-noise ratio. They should also investigate the site’s technical infrastructure to determine whether elements such as the power and cabling are fit to support your technology requirements. This survey should ascertain how many access points are necessary to ensure the required number of devices can access the network and that sitewide coverage is achieved to eliminate any black spots.
What are the Benefits of a Managed WiFi Service?
1. No upfront capital investment
Subscribing to a managed WiFi service means you no longer have to invest upfront capital when setting up your network. Instead, you pay a monthly or annual subscription fee based on your usage.
2. Reduced operational costs
Your managed service provider will take care of all hardware and software updates, upgrades, troubleshooting and support to users through a 24/7 helpdesk. Organisations no longer have the ongoing expense of dedicated IT staff to manage and maintain wireless networks and support guests and other WiFi users.
Nothing is more frustrating than an unreliable WiFi connection. From schools to businesses, it can profoundly affect productivity and even morale. For those subscribing to managed WiFi, the 24/7 monitoring service would mean that any issues would be identified and resolved before you know about them, avoiding unnecessary stress and costly downtime. Most of the time, issues would be fixed remotely, with any hardware swap-outs happening the next business day, avoiding long, drawn-out manufacturer warranty processes.
4. Safe & Secure
Data is one of the most valuable commodities for individuals and businesses, and moving to a managed service provider shifts the responsibility of network security from the company to your provider. Managed WiFi service engineers must undergo rigorous training and know the best practices for setting up the most secure networks and admin controls. They are up to speed with potential attacks and breaches, and keeping your data safe is their sole job.
5. Scalable and future-proof
Because managed WiFi networks are cloud-based, it is relatively easy to increase the number of access points to follow business growth. Since most WiFi intelligence resides in the cloud, organisations can extend their coverage and easily add newly connected sites with reduced hardware investments. Managed WiFi thus enables highly agile and scalable wireless networks.
6. Fast and Simple Guest Access WiFi
7. Advanced Analytics
Modern, high-end WiFi systems come with advanced analytics. These permit organisations to learn more about their users and visitors, even if they don’t connect to the WiFi network. A device can also be tracked over time, and its owner’s behavioural profile can be detected. Organisations can also use these analytics to monitor and evaluate the performance of WiFi services and the health of the WiFi infrastructure. These “back-end analytics” substantially improve the level of service your managed service provider can offer.
8. Engagement Marketing Tools
These tools enable businesses to directly engage users, during and after their visit, by delivering relevant and personalised content. Organisations can further extend their brand’s presence on social media networks through social WiFi. They should be able to set up features such as automated Likes, Posts, Check-ins and Follows in just a few clicks. Encouraging users to “Like” their Facebook page and timeline posts should also be accessible.
9. Central Management
This type of Management offers control of every aspect of your users’ WiFi access across all site locations, all from a single, cloud-based dashboard. This includes WiFi onboarding, analytics, visitor traffic and marketing. These centralised capabilities give an in-depth view of each location’s activity and user experience, enabling better commercial decision-making.
10. Optimum monitoring and reporting
Managed service providers make it their business to keep their engineers updated on software development and the latest technology. They also have advanced tools to monitor and report on potential security breaches, speed, connectivity and network reliability.
Cloud technology solutions also provide real-time updates on security incidents around the clock. For example, you can see if users are browsing sites that are a potential security risk, allowing you to block their access. This will give you complete control over your network and tailor website access to suit your organisation’s needs.
Managed WiFi Service Case Study
CSH Surrey works in partnership with the NHS to transform local community health services and provide care for adults, children and their families in homes, schools, clinics and community hospitals across Surrey.
Having a reliable, consistent and secure connection to the internet through free WiFi in hospitals and clinics across the country has been one of the NHS’ objectives in recent years. Offering free patient WiFi has many benefits, including helping them stay connected to friends and family using messaging services, empowering them to monitor and look after their health using digital health services, and keeping injured children entertained in A&E.
It provides an efficient, reliable and secure platform for clinicians and staff, enabling them to offer and utilise the latest digital health and care services. CSH Surrey is the latest health service to pilot a free WiFi scheme for patients and staff across its hospitals in Surrey.
Simpli-Fi was awarded a three-year contract for the first flagship hospitals as part of CSH Surrey’s patient and staff WiFi rollout across all significant sites. Simpli-Fi worked closely with the SLT and the internal IT department to consult, design, install and maintain a state-of-the-art WiFi network across the hospital sites. Simpli-Fi provides a fully managed WiFi service, including next-day hardware swap out if any failures occur, remote monitoring, and 7-days a week help desk and support. Simpli-Fi also designed a branded user experience for visitors when they connect to the hospital WiFi.
“From our initial enquiry to getting the initial hospitals live, Simpli-Fi provided us with simple, clear guidance and quality service that enabled us to move quickly and efficiently to meet our target deadlines. The flexible pricing model made it a straightforward decision for us, and their managed service is outstanding. Simpli-Fi works with us like an inner support arm of the business.”
Matt Abercrombie – Director of Commercial Finance
A Managed WiFi Service with Simpli-Fi
Our team of experts has over 20 years of experience supplying technology to the education, leisure, construction, and public sectors. To this day, we have over 500 customers and have supported over 80 thousand users through our service.
When you partner with us, you receive an uncomplicated, high-quality service with clarity and focus from conception to completion. As a result, we simplify life for our customers, moving quickly and efficiently through your project.
At Simpli-Fi, we recognise an actual demand to provide WiFi as a service, providing organisations with an affordable yet quality WiFi network as a completely managed service. Connectivity is vital to your business and is at the heart of everything we do.
We also understand the importance of trust in building long-standing, collaborative relationships. Therefore, we want to share our knowledge with you and actively encourage teams, suppliers, and stakeholders to contribute to projects to enhance the overall outcome. By working together, we can work towards achieving a shared goal.
We value simplicity, collaboration, speed, and impact, believing these core values underpin all aspects of any project and position us as industry leaders you can trust.
The team at Simpli-Fi works with you to understand your organisation’s requirements to ensure they are met and exceeded. We take care of everything from initial planning and consultation to network design, hardware supply and installation, and firmware updates to keep your network secure and optimised.
We want you to enjoy total peace of mind regarding your WiFi service.
Why not get in touch and speak to one of our friendly experts about how Simpli-Fi could revolutionise your connectivity? Call 0345 612 3008, contact the team here, or schedule a discovery call with our MD, Gary Exall.