More and more businesses are renovating older buildings when looking for new and upgraded office locations. If you’re looking for buildings with more character, a sense of history or city centre locations, you may find that an older building is your best bet.
However, you should note that when you move into these premises, they have often been designed and built in a time where modern technology simply wasn’t a consideration.
In bringing these old buildings into the modern working world, your number-one problem is most likely going to be how you will provide wireless internet throughout.
So, what problems could you experience when trying to achieve 100% coverage?
The Main Culprit Is Usually the Building Itself
It probably won’t surprise you to hear that the most obvious suspect is also the most challenging to resolve.
The materials that are most likely to cause you problems are ceramic, concrete or metal. However, an especially thick wall of just about any material is likely to cause similar issues. Two of the more surprising signal blocking items are water (in, say, a large fish tank) or mirrors, which are both capable of stopping a signal in its tracks.
What can you do to get around these issues? There are two approaches:
The wired approach – through installing a network of high-speed and top-quality cabling throughout the building, you can ensure that you get the best coverage possible. This will, however, rely on users plugging into the network and/or using a number of Wi-Fi hotspots that you provide throughout the building. Whilst this is going to give you with a strong internet connection throughout, it can be a lot more expensive to install.
The wireless approach – with this method, additional routers and Wi-Fi extenders [link] will be strategically located throughout the building in order to provide the best coverage possible. Depending on the building layout, this can be a cheaper and more effective way to provide the wireless coverage you are seeking.
Other Issues and How to Solve Them
While the building itself is often to blame for a poor internet connection, the construction materials are frequently wrongly blamed for an incorrectly configured wireless network. So, we’ve listed some of the more common issues and how to resolve them.
- You are too far from the router – purchase a second router or wireless extenders.
- Lack of bandwidth – ensure you’ve disconnected any idle devices and, if you have the technical capability, control users and their usage by choosing a leading firewall for your network. If all else fails, you may need to upgrade your broadband.
- Interference – if other networks are trying to use the same channel in the same area, you should try resetting your router so that it changes channels automatically.
- Old equipment – if you have an older router, update it to accommodate improved tech and speeds. You will often notice that older equipment will begin crashing intermittently.
Our reliance on being able to access a strong and swift internet connection is only likely to increase over the coming years, as our demand for video content in particular grows. This is expected to become an even bigger problem as virtual reality systems enter the mainstream.
We are already seeing the early signs of technology companies trying to reverse the trend for increasing data demands by providing lighter apps. Facebook and more recently, LinkedIn have produced vastly reduced versions of their apps, allowing users to reduce their need for data and signal while using them.
While some companies are leading a low-tech and light data revolution through ingeniously simple design, this goes somewhat against the trend, with generally increasing data demand and Wi-Fi being seen as a basic necessity.
With this in mind, it is important that your company not only considers these issues when locating to a new (or old) building but also looks at them intermittently over time so that you can ensure you are delivering the best experiences for your employees and customers. If you can ensure your wireless policies, technology and even broadband packages are the best they can be, your employees will find they are much better placed to serve your customers and drive your business forward!
Until Next Time.