The pros and cons of Wireless networks to business firms
Many businesses in the world ranging from small micro-enterprises to medium and large companies are moving towards implementation of computer networks. The demand to acquire new clients while at the same time keeping the old ones coupled with stiff market competition drive these business firms to diversify their business trends. In their quest to do so, they are employing new technologies that guarantee return on investment and profit maximization.
One such technology employed by business firms is installation of Wireless computer networks to facilitate faster customer services and maintain an upper edge on their competitors. A Wireless network is a computer network that uses boundless data transmission signal to route information between two or more network connected devices.
A wireless signal can use transmission media such as high frequency radio signals, satellite and VSAT (Very Small Aperture Terminal) technology, Laser technology, Infrared light, Microwaves etc. to transmit data signal between two or more connected devices such as workstations, servers or mobile devices.
A Wireless network use Wi-Fi (Wireless Fidelity) IEEE 802.11 standards and Ethernet protocols that were originally defined by the Wi-Fi Alliance and adopted in 1997.
With increased cost of business operations and the need to maximize profit, many business firms were skeptical whether to install a computer network in the first place and even so, whether to go wireless or connection oriented way.
With the high cost of Wireless network and high cost of equipment necessary for implementing a Wireless network, very few companies opted for Wireless network.
But as more companies and users acquired laptops with integrated wireless network cards and adapters, the cost of wireless devices has decreased and wireless networks are becoming much more common.
If a company is considering installing a computer network as a Wireless network or probably upgrading an existing network to be a Wireless network, here are the pros and cons of a Wireless network.
Advantages of Wireless networks
- Fast and easy to setup
Wireless network are easy and fast to setup mostly because most wireless devices such as laptops and mobile devices come with wireless adapters that makes it easy to locate and configure a wireless signal. Many wireless devices can connect automatically to a wireless network with no need to fix wires or cables.
Probably one of the biggest advantages of wireless network is the ability of enabling users to move around within the signal range at their discretion. With a laptop or mobile device, users can be able to access wireless signal be it in a café, mall or in airplane. Many companies also provide on-air Wi-Fi access commonly referred to as “Hot Spot.” If a company needs signal mobility especially where customer “hot” help desk is a requirement then Wireless network is a better option.
Setting up a Wireless network nowadays is much more affordable since there is no cost of buying and installing wires and cables. Moreover, Wireless network devices such as signal extenders, range boosters, signal repeaters and wireless routers have become much more affordable.
Adding new wireless devices such laptops into a Wireless network is easy. In many cases it is as simple as turning the device on and plugging it into a network so long as users limit is not exceeded.
- Signal coverage
Initially, signal coverage in Wireless network used to be a major problem but with improved and new technologies, this is becoming a thing of past. Wider signal coverage in Wireless network can be achieved through network extenders, range boaster and earth stations.
Disadvantages of Wireless networks
Network security has been a problem in Wireless networks. Compared to connection oriented networks, Wireless networks are much more vulnerable to malicious attacks, hacking and bandwidth theft. Security measures such as disabling broadcast, use of MAC filtering, data encryption, data back-up, network isolation, passwords/usernames authentication etc. can be used to improve network security.
Wireless signal are much more susceptible to interferences from weather changes, other electronic devices, refraction, reflection, absorption, blockage from physical objects such as thick walls etc. These can cause the signal to be unstable leading to weak connections or disconnections.
If the firm needs fast data exchange such as in real-time processing or where huge data such as 3D images need to be moved across the network, Wireless network can be a disadvantage. Although Wireless networks are generally faster than dial-up connections, they cannot match up to the data speeds provided in connection oriented networks usually in terms of gigabyte Ethernet.
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