Pros and cons of wireless networking
Wireless networks or WiFi (as wireless connections are commonly known) have a number of key business advantages over wired networks.
Advantages of wireless networking
Improved data communications lead to faster transfer of information within businesses and between partners and customers. For example, salespeople can remotely check stock levels and prices while on sales calls.
Access and availability
Because wireless technology allows the user to communicate while on the move, you are rarely out of touch – you don’t need extra cables or adaptors to access office networks.
Office-based wireless workers can network without sitting at dedicated computers and can continue to do productive work while away from the office. This can lead to new styles of working, such as home working or direct access to corporate data while on customer sites. See more on employees working from home.
Wireless networks can be easier and cheaper to install, especially in listed buildings or where the landlord will not permit the installation of cables.
Wireless networking could allow you to offer new products or services. For example, many airport departure lounges, train stations, hotels, cafes and restaurants have installed ‘hot spot’ WiFi services to allow mobile users to connect their equipment to their ‘home’ offices while travelling.
Disadvantages of wireless networking
Despite the many benefits that wireless can claim over wired networks, there are also potential WiFi disadvantages to keep in mind.
Wireless transmission is more exposed to attacks by unauthorised users, so you must pay particular attention to security. See securing your wireless systems.
You may experience interference if others in the same building also use wireless technology, or where other sources of electromagnetic (radio) interference exist. This could lead to poor communication or, in extreme cases, complete loss of wireless communication.
In some buildings, getting consistent coverage can be difficult, leading to ‘black spots’ where the signal isn’t available. For example, in structures built using steel reinforcing materials, you may find it difficult to pick up the radio frequencies used.
Wireless transmission can be slower and less efficient than ‘wired’ networks. In larger wireless networks, the ‘backbone’ network is usually wired or fibre rather than wireless.