Managed Wireless Access Points (WAP) can help mitigate some of the challenges that arise with WiFi networks and provide more reliable connectivity for offices. But what is managed WAP, and when and why might companies decide to adopt this option for configuring and managing WiFi networks? Let’s dive into the nitty-gritty.
What is managed WAP?
WAPs expand WiFi connectivity beyond a single access point by using devices that create wireless hotspots via radio signals. These devices then allow wireless devices to connect to the network. This extends the wireless network to a larger geographical area while also diminishing weak or dead spots. Managed WAP also lets companies more easily manage and configure their extended WiFi network via a centralized controller that manages all other access points.
Management options for WAPs can be hosted through a hardware-based controller, software, or in the cloud. With a hardware-based controller, all WAPs in a network are managed using a single controller—or switch—that allows network administrators to configure access points collectively rather than individually. On the other side, software management options provide administrators with the option to configure, manage, and monitor their WAPs network-wide via a software controller that’s either hosted on a local computer or in the cloud. While such on-premise options are common, like many other solutions, WAP is shifting to the cloud. This option allows network administrators to manage and configure their company’s wireless network and access points via a web-based dashboard.
When should you consider it?
If your business has a large office or area that requires WiFi coverage – such as a courtyard or campus – that is currently connected by a single router or access point, you likely have variable connectivity. As you move to different rooms or areas across the network, you might lose your WiFi connection. Similarly, if any of your employees have multiple devices (e.g., phones, tablets, and laptops) that they need to connect to the internet, a traditional setup with a single access point might not have enough strength to accommodate numerous devices demanding access. In cases such as these, and if your company is at a stage where reliable, consistent internet connectivity is vital to operations, it may be time to make the switch.
Benefits of managed WAP?
There are multiple advantages for businesses that decide to adopt managed WAP, including network reliability, simplified processes, and easier network monitoring. Let’s dig deeper.
- Reliability: One of the greatest advantages of managed wireless access points is increased reliability in terms of network connectivity. Manage WAP can increase the speed of WiFi connections while making connections more reliable and reducing the likelihood that connections will be weak or dropped. Even more, managed WAP enables more users to reliably access a network at any given time.
- Simplification: These solutions allow network administrators to streamline network management and workflow. Rather than individually making needed changes to each access point, they can configure and make changes across the network centrally and all at once. Through software and cloud-based management tools, administrators are also able to more quickly and easily set up and configure WAPs while providing ongoing oversight and management of the network. Dashboards provided through these management options also help streamline this process through easy-to-use interfaces.
- Monitoring: While WAPs can increase the number of users who can access a network, managed options also make it easier to monitor and manage this influx of users. Using this technology network administrators can tailor network access for different groups of users. Additionally, software and cloud-based management options allow administrators to easily monitor and manage WAPs remotely and troubleshoot as needed.
If you have a small office with just a few users connecting to the internet, a simple router or single access point may be doing the job. However, if your company is one that requires consistent, reliable internet for many users across a large office or area, you may find that managed WAP is a solution that will improve your network reliability – keeping employees connected and productive.