Wired or Wireless, Which is the Better Network?
Today’s office spaces detect when you enter the room and adjust to your meeting’s settings. It seems everything is wireless, Bluetooth-connected, or voice-controlled but is that the way to go with your network? Is a wireless network the best choice for your meeting space? Wired and wireless both offer distinct advantages, so how do you decide? That depends. First we need to understand who will be using the space, what collaborative tools will be used, and your network’s security level.
Whether a small huddle space or expansive board room, enabling your team with the right collaboration tools, connectivity and capabilities is essential for creating a productive space. With your team and network in mind, let’s consider the three types of wireless solutions:
- The Business Wi-Fi network is a dedicated Wi-Fi network providing exceptional, reliable coverage to anyone on the business’s network. It allows seamless access to all server files to everyone on the network however, it restricts access to guests. This restricted access impacts collaboration. One benefit though is that the system can be located anywhere on premise, eliminating the need to locate it the equipment in the room.
- The Local Network is a device-specific wireless network. It creates its own WiFi network with direct connectivity. This method offers heightened security since the company’s network doesn’t need to be accessed in order to connect to a device. The local network is the popular choice among IT Administrators due to the secure nature of standalone devices not needing to access the network. The downside however, is that files outside of that network cannot be accessed and that the devices need to be located in the room.
- The Plug-n-Play Network uses wireless USB dongles to connect directly to a dedicated network. Once connected, the dongles automatically download a widget that allows the users to connect to the system. At the press of a button, many of these dongles include “show me” functionality which allows the user’s desktop to be shown on the display. The USB dongles can be a supplement to either of the two other types of wireless systems as described earlier, providing connectivity for users who either can’t connect to the WiFi network or who are unable to download or access the necessary software. One possible disadvantage is that dongles can inadvertently be packed up with guests’ laptops or otherwise misplaced.
On many of the wireless presentation platforms, content can also be streamed. This is great for employees who work remotely or are traveling, as well as for sharing content across a corporate network to a satellite location. Additionally, many systems can also provide the ability to present multiple desktops simultaneously, providing an enhanced collaborative experience.
Wired plus wireless, but not wire-free
Providing at least one “hardwired” connection is recommended for every meeting space as wireless access is not always available for all users. Some systems require an app or software suite which can be problematic for guest presenters who don’t have the ability or system rights to install software on their laptop, and others have severely locked down laptops where even the USB ports are not able to upload or download data which would include the widgets that the wireless USB dongles provide. Unforeseen network issues or outages can also render a wireless system inoperable if the system relies on the Client Wi-Fi, so the hardwired connection provides a reliable backup.
So, which is the right solution for you? Give us a call and let’s explore the options. We’ll discover your wants, guide you through your choices and work with your IT pro to ensure safe connectivity. And bear in mind, wireless doesn’t mean wire free. There’s still equipment that needs to live either in the room or in an equipment rack elsewhere and there’s still a need to provide power to the tabletop connectivity. It all starts with the infrastructure. Let’s get started, shall we?