When Should You Switch Your Wireless Manufacture?

Wireless Access Point Manufacturing

Is It Time To Change Your Wireless Manufacturer?

When did you last update your wireless access points? Think about this for a minute. The technology has been improving approximately every 2 to 3 years, if you’re running a business with equipment in its 4th to 5th year of owning your access point and infrastructure, you’re starting to feel some pain.

Let’s look at some of the watch points:

  • End Users refresh cycle their equipment in what I call batches, this occurs every 12 to 18 months in a normal enterprise. That means the latest Wi-Fi devices and drivers are coming onto your network but perhaps your access points and network firmware are not keeping pace.
  • Consider your neighbors. We often get called in as soon as a year or so after installation to find the new tenant above or below their floors has a competing Wi-Fi network. This is when we would look at performance improvements and remediation. Doing so extends the life of your access points and deployment.
  • ERP systems: a number of manufacturers and warehouses have started to take increased rollouts of these technologies and have gone from needing an access point in one or 2 locations to everywhere. These facilities can be highly complex for radiofrequency RF design and often require an active survey rather than a paper or predictive survey
  • If you notice something repeatedly wrong with your end point devices, then a review of overall network will be needed rather than replacement.

Did you Forget you have Access Points: Wireless Wi-Fi Devices are amongst those appliances that a lot of people install at their businesses and tend to forget about them. (Think of kitchen fridge in the cafeteria, see that’s the first time you thought about it in years!). If you are also among those business owners who think that “I’ll let my Wi-Fi equipment perform its job and leave it as it is”, then it’s time to reconsider the whole Wi-Fi network.

Here are the major reasons that explain why you should switch your wireless manufacture.

1. Look Through The Changes In The Overall Network That Need A Review

  • Just like most of the other products, your wireless devices also have a lifecycle. If it is at the end of it, then there is quite a possibility that it does not qualify for the manufacturer’s upgrades.
  • In our performance review we look at the age of your equipment in more detail some examples are :
  • Is the product end of sale EOS (end of Sale), that model will not be sold anymore by a specific Date.?
  • Is the product end of support? This can happen 2 to 5 years after the EOS. If this is the case you really should consider replacing the technology ASAP.
  • Has the manufacturer been sold or merged with another company? Sometimes these types of events can slow the improvement cycle of the existing equipment enhancements. Sometimes the equipment is quietly ended prematurely. As consultant, we look at all these elements and make our recommendations on a case-by-case basis.
  • Think carefully what the options are on cloud vs premise solutions. This can be a cost-saving or management decision rather than the just a simple feature set. In A later blog we will discuss this in more detail.

2. Adding Advanced Services Such As RTLS (Real-Time Location Services)

Have you recently added RTLS within your organization? If yes, be aware that RTLS involves significant improvements to the design and installation of equipment throughout a facility and will impact the day-today operations, processes, and workflows. There might be a need to revisit the overall design if there are renovations or structural changes within facilities to accommodate the RTLS’s technological. 802.11 standards are constantly updated to accommodate improvements in technology. If the Wi-Fi standards are enhanced with new specifications, you will eventually have to upgrade to the higher levels including increased bandwidth devices. If that happens, legacy devices may force a notable capacity slowdown of the previous wireless communications network. We know what to watch for in this case.

The industry is currently in one of these major cycles for 2019 /2020 (802.11ax and 5G) and now is the best type to monitor the situation and time your next upgrade.

I wanted to keep this blog short and to the point. The purpose here is to take a few minutes and consider all key points to evaluate change in your Wi-Fi infrastructure. Its best to seek independent advice when possible and this is a good starting point.

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