Covid-19 changed business priorities and with them the role of networks in buildings. Companies are embracing remote networking while other companies adjusted their offices to accommodate social distancing. The network that connects those remote workers with their companies has become more important than ever. Sometimes though, these companies skip over the most foundational piece – the network infrastructure. Network infrastructure – including fiber and copper cabling, antennas, wireless access points and switches – is the backbone for all the devices that run on the network. As companies expand their use of mobile applications and internet of things devices, they find that current 4G connectivity is insufficient, causing latency and slow signal strength. When internet connectivity is accepted as a necessary part of building infrastructure, alongside electricity, water, and gas, it becomes known as the fourth utility.
The Growth of the Wi-Fi as a Service (WaaS) Market
Ease of Wi-Fi infrastructure management and its remote troubleshooting are fueling the growth of the WaaS market. WaaS is an internet access service managed from the cloud. Presently, various business functions such as marketing, R&D activities, and manufacturing are carried out through the cloud, thereby making operations and management of these functionalities and related data easy. WaaS helps businesses in managing their Wi-Fi networks at any location from anywhere. Cloud-based centralized management enables network managers to remotely troubleshoot problems related to Wi-Fi infrastructure through a network management interface from a distant location, thereby saving travel costs and time. Small and medium enterprises require cost-efficient, flexible, scalable, and automated Wi-Fi network. As such, they are adopting WaaS model, which allows small and medium enterprises and distributed enterprises with low budgets and limited resources to have uninterrupted internet connectivity.
Benefits to a WaaS network
There are several benefits to a WaaS network, including:
Predictability - any disruptions to service can have an immediate impact on operations, and hence productivity.
Improved customer experience - WaaS allows you to engage with end consumers through location-based advertising and ultimately optimize their experience.
Scalability - By providing a self-fixing, self-running Wi-Fi network, your organization can better concentrate on your core business rather than making sure your infrastructure meets increasing demands for coverage, capacity, users, devices, and application
WaaS Challenges: Data security and privacy concerns
Maintaining the privacy and confidentiality of organizational data is very critical for enterprises. Hence, companies are reluctant to move their data to the cloud and as such, are still using the traditional Wi-Fi network. Another major concern is natural or manmade disasters that can damage data centers, thereby leading to the loss of internet connectivity and hence, impacting various business processes. Thus, cloud connectivity failure and data security issues act as restraints for the growth of the WaaS market.
Blurred Lines between OT and IT
As IT and OT teams work closer together, we see a blurring of the traditional separation between OT (operational technologies such as HVAC, access control, and lighting) and IT (networks and computers). For the first time, OT teams need to know how much bandwidth is available on the network and who is using it. In turn, IT teams must support a wider array of devices and user scenarios. We see these developments as the precursors to a convergence of OT and IT teams in order to unify network management. What this all means is that networks are more complex and building owners must now incorporate in-building mobile wireless, Wi-Fi, CBRS, fixed wireless access (FWA), and private LTE networks.
Get reliable and secure WiFi-as-a-Service
Companies are now considering Wi-Fi as critical to business operations, and are turning to outsourced providers to ensure nothing is left to chance when it comes to protecting the quality of service—even if that means bypassing the traditional networking and IT departments. INFRASI provides a cloud-managed Wi-Fi solution that is richly featured and highly reliable for a range of business environments. Digital collaboration is more necessary and available than before. From outside to inside, we can help you with your wired and wireless needs. We’re here to help!