An effective online connectivity strategy is the key to recovering from pandemic-related losses

By Jeff Rhode, Director at Liveport Australia.

Since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, companies and organisations around the world have scrambled to adopt new technologies and practices that can ensure both the safety of their customers and the survival of their business. From retail and restaurant businesses to hotels and hospitals, a whole new array of technology platforms and services have risen with the promise of delivering safer, contactless or social-distancing-compatible experiences capable of rebuilding consumer trust.

Yet while businesses may have a range of options to choose from – contactless digital keys, remote-work-compatible software and temperature screening cameras, for example – one commonly shared trait among the vast majority of these new platforms is that they require an online connection in order to function. As with virtually any connected system, they further require fast, stable and reliable connectivity to achieve their intended results.

With such platforms potentially making all the difference in achieving a successful recovery and with the ability to maintain wireless communications more important than ever to business operations, there has never been a more crucial time to ensure that wifi networks are up to the task.

Begin with a comprehensive network site survey

Regardless of industry, businesses can often fall into the trap of assuming that more powerful equipment automatically translates into a fast and responsive network covering all areas of their premises. Yet after a costly installation, many unfortunately find themselves still battling complaints over dropped connections, coverage dead spots and operational systems that appear to be frozen indefinitely.

These unintended results can surface simply because the quality and capabilities of a wifi service are not determined by the number of access points or other network hardware thrown at it but by a professional and carefully thought-out analysis of specific network needs.

Consider this. Each business is housed within a building with a unique structural composition that can play an oversized role in how wifi signals are dispersed – from thick walls that can act as an obstacle to signal penetration to a lack of Ethernet cabling in strategic areas where an appropriately placed access point can ensure widespread and effective coverage. Add to that the multitude of different systems and services that a business may have requiring an internet connection, and it becomes more apparent why one size fits all is never a good approach to network connectivity.

To begin, then, any business experiencing network difficulties or in need of greater functionality should start by identifying a network provider capable of offering a no-obligation and fully comprehensive site survey. Using software that leverages a building’s blueprints/CAD drawings, experienced providers can pinpoint precisely where coverage and other network-related issues are originating from with advanced heat map technology.

The same functionality can also be used to identify the most optimal areas for hardware installation, resulting in a customised WLAN network that can guarantee high-capacity performance regardless of a user’s physical location or online needs. Just as important, properly performed site surveys can also mean avoiding the risk of purchasing unnecessary equipment that does nothing to enhance service quality and represents a higher cost.

Worse still, businesses giving little thought to how much and what kind of hardware is being installed can actually end up paying for equipment that create disruptions in service. Too many access points, for example, can lead to signal interference and endless dropped connections. By first performing a site survey and identifying exactly the type and amount of hardware required, businesses can save themselves from avoidable headaches and expenses while obtaining the results they set out to achieve in the first place.

More online traffic requires better management

Even with the appropriate network infrastructure in place, today’s businesses are tasked with providing online connectivity to more users and systems than ever before, which can quickly lead to performance complications if left unmanaged. Especially for buildings that routinely house a large number of individuals or separate departments, one person’s overuse of network resources can have a destabilising effect on the service quality experienced by others.

Network providers experienced with implementing internet services for larger-scale businesses are more than familiar with this challenge and are capable of providing access to newer technologies offering a final resolution. This includes providing businesses with advanced gateway platforms that can monitor individual bandwidth usage. If a user goes over a pre-determined threshold allotment, such systems can automatically modify an excessive user’s consumption rates and re-direct bandwidth to ensure fair use and sufficient resources for all.

Businesses should also be on the lookout for more established providers that can offer 24/7 network monitoring and support. With the sheer amount of devices and systems connected to one network, any number of unanticipated troubleshooting issues can suddenly arise, grounding business operations to a halt. By partnering with a provider able to constantly monitor a building’s network health, businesses can rest assured that any performance fluctuations will be quickly identified by experienced professionals with the expertise to implement a solution before operations or customer satisfaction levels are affected.

Give your business recovery efforts a head start

With so much resting on the performance capabilities of a business’s internet network, any organisation seeking the return of their clientele should take a deep look at their current network capabilities to ensure a smooth resumption of operations.

Questions that business owners and managers should ask themselves include: Does the adoption of contactless services translate into a significant additional strain on current network resources? Is my network currently capable of guaranteeing fast and reliable coverage in all onsite areas? Do I have a means of managing traffic during peak usage times to ensure a satisfactory experience for all users? If something does go wrong, do I have a backup plan to ensure swift identification and a solution to a performance issue?

Businesses able to effectively address these factors are the ones that have the foundations needed to facilitate an effective recovery effort regardless of the number of new technologies or practices they need to adopt to succeed in the new market environment.

Bio: Jeff Rhode, Director at Liveport Australia. Liveport is a full solution provider for secure wired and wireless internet services, all supported with 24×7 guest service monitoring and support.