Do they have WiFi there? This is the first question out of my 10-year-old son’s mouth any time I announce that we are going somewhere. A restaurant, a friend’s house, the playground – it doesn’t matter. Wireless access is his first and foremost concern at any given moment.
You see, my son, unlike some of his better-appointed friends, does not have a mobile-enabled device. (This isn’t a parenting blog, so I won’t get into all the reasons we’ve opted not to get him a phone yet). What’s relevant here is that he’s forced to suffer through (his words, not mine) his daily allotted hours of screen time on my old iPhone, which no longer has a data plan attached to it. As such, he requires wireless access in order to perform his critical daily tasks, which entail 1) watching videos on YouTube, 2) checking on his Clash of Clans village, and 3) liking his classmates’ latest Instagram posts.
So when he asks me, “Do they have WiFi there?” my answer (after I’ve squelched the urge to launch into a lecture about priorities, and how he should value family time over video games) is a solid “maybe.”
And “maybe” is the best answer I can give him at this point. Even if I know the place we’re going does have wireless access, there’s no guarantee it’s going to work for him. Thanks to the billions of new wireless devices that are connecting each year and the amount of data that each device is capable of sending and receiving, bandwidth demand is growing exponentially. In a lot of cases, it’s growing faster than what a facility’s network can keep up with. Many places just don’t have the infrastructure in place to handle the demand, and their wireless connections are spotty at best.
For example: Last week I was traveling for work. With a few extra minutes to spare before our next meeting, my colleagues and I stopped in at a local McDonald’s to grab a cup of coffee. Seeing the “Free WiFi” signs plastered all over the building, this should have been a good opportunity to check up on email, right? Not so much. We were all able to connect to the network, but none of us was able transmit or receive emails or access any websites. There are a number of reasons why this could have happened, but I suspect that the infrastructure wasn’t up to the bandwidth demand created by all of those diners trying to use their wireless devices at one time.
This skyrocketing demand – and the resulting evolution in wireless technology – affects every organization across all industries in all parts of the world. And it won’t be slowing down any time soon. In order to prepare for this tremendous growth on your network, you need to understand what to prepare for. Otherwise, you’ll end up with an underperforming network and frustrated customers (not to mention angry 10-year-olds).
Berk-Tek can help you by providing the information you need to make an informed decision. This webinar is a good place to start: Next Gen Wireless: What you Need to Know to Stay Ahead of the Wave.
We also have a lot of great resources on the Everything IP page on our website.