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Do You Have Adequate Wireless Carrier Arrangements?

April 06, 2015

With the increasing incidence of companies operating with distributed teams working from remote locations or in the field, your “network” is seemingly without geographic boundaries.

By Leland McFarland.

Leland McFarland is the Chief Technology Officer at Small Business Trends. He is responsible for programming, design and maintenance of the sites, as well as server administration. He has performed work for Small Business Trends since 2010.

With the increasing incidence of companies operating with distributed teams working from remote locations or in the field, your “network” is seemingly without geographic boundaries.

When team members are on the go and need more than a mobile phone connection, wireless WiFi comes into play. Can you and your team get the access you need, with enough reliability, coverage and speed?

Here are considerations for your wireless WiFi arrangements.

Does the Carrier Provide Enough Bandwidth?

In January 2015, the FCC released new benchmarks for broadband speeds to “reflect consumer demands and advances in technology.” The new benchmark is 25 Mbps for downloads, and 3 Mbps for uploads. However, at the time of updating that benchmark, the report went on to state that 55 million Americans still lack access to the 25/3 broadband benchmark speeds, noting that more work needs to be done.

With that benchmark in mind, evaluate your wireless carrier for bandwidth and speed. Is your carrier able to deliver broadband speeds that meet or exceed the new FCC benchmarks?

Obviously, with more work being done across wireless connections, bandwidth becomes an important issue when sending and receiving important documents, and accessing apps in the cloud. Waiting for pages to load when a client is standing by or you’re finalizing that sales presentation, can be annoying or downright disadvantageous to your business. With a high speed connection you can keep multiple tabs open and get your important business done without interruption.

How Many Hotspots are Available and Where are they Located?

If team members travel regularly, costs can add up if they have to pay for WiFi access each time or, worse, use their mobile devices for access eating up limited data minutes or levels. And connecting to different WiFi networks may be a hassle.

How many hotspots are available nationwide to your employees and contractors? Is hotspot access while on the go covered under your plan, or will you be required to pay extra?

Cost is not the only concern. There’s also availability. Hotspots tend to be more available in cities and large towns, but increasingly you will find them in smaller towns through a strong carrier. Check the provider’s hotspot map.

How detailed is the map? You want to be able to hone in on exact locations in your immediate area.

And how easy is it to find hotspots? It would be very difficult to memorize multiple locations. Having a map on the provider’s main website is fine but some providers have apps so employees can seek out nearby hotspots under your plan while on the go.

Is Public and Guest WiFi Available on Your Premises?

Do you offer WiFi access to customers and guests on your premises through your wireless carrier? Do you plan to?

Will your wireless WiFi provider allow those customers and guests access to that connection, but in a way that is separate and apart from your own network, so that you don’t have to share your secure passwords or slow down your own network?

One factor that can be unforeseen is how difficult and complex will it be for customers and guests to access your WiFi hotspot on your premises. What’s meant as a customer perk or convenience can quickly turn to annoyance if logging in is complicated. Even worse is if your WiFi isn’t adequate and the connection is spotty or slow.

Finally, consider whether your public WiFi can be listed under the carrier’s hotspot map. This can help you with marketing your business.

This article was originally published on SmallBizTrends.com.

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