WiFi is no longer a novelty for the 21st century customer. They have access to fast and reliable connections almost all of the time, whether it’s at home, at work or just on a night out at the pub. To keep up with the competition, WiFi is an absolute must but large scale WiFi deployments can be challenging.
To give you the best chance of a smooth and effective network rollout, we’ve listed some of the key issues you might face and how best to overcome them.
Deployment Challenges to Keep in Mind
First and foremost, venues are faced with the challenge of WiFi coverage when deploying a large network. Where is wireless access needed? Depending on the project, you’ll need to consider the full area that needs coverage, including both indoor and outdoor spaces.
The connection needs to be reliable and consistent in all areas of use, but it’s worth considering which locations are likely to be the most popular. If the space could potentially expand, then you’ll need to factor that information in when carrying out a large scale WiFi deployment. Determine the level of coverage needed and plan accordingly.
Giving the general public access to the internet without implementing restrictions or a filtering programme is a recipe for disaster. Not only can it help to block unwanted access to the inappropriate websites, but it also safeguards users and prevents them from accessing illegal content.
Without content filtering, users could fall victim to an online scam or be exposed to inappropriate content. There are certain schemes that are designed for family-friendly WiFi access, such as the 'Friendly WiFi Scheme'. A good provider will help ensure your solution is accredited to this.
The WiFi network that’s deployed needs to be able to manage many concurrent users at the same time. With more and more people having WiFi-enabled devices, it’s challenging to make sure they all have consistent and reliable connections.
To overcome this challenge and ensure that users aren’t affected by heavy usage periods, you’ll need to have the right infrastructure in place to cope. The quality of the network design, the equipment and the wireless service provider you choose to partner with is vital for making sure you don’t have regular drops in connection.
It’s easy to think that once the WiFi network is deployed and in use, the hard work is done. Once implemented, it’s important that the WiFi is used to its full potential to give the company the best return on investment.
If used correctly, the WiFi network can pay for itself once valuable user data has been collated, analysed and used to make improvements. For example, if the network is in a retail environment, the data can tell the retailer which areas of their store are most popular and at what time. They can then change the store layout accordingly and ensure extra staff are in place when it’s the busiest part of the day.
To ensure the WiFi is used to constantly improve services, it’s important to partner with a provider that gives you access to the data that’s collected from users. Many don’t include it within their packages and sell it back for an extra cost. Work with a provider that not only gives access to the data but one that has a specialist analytics platform, which can be customised to help companies to identify, understand and track the most important information.
Installation and maintenance costs can soon add up for any business looking to deploy a large scale WiFi network. Customers are used to WiFi at home, in the office, in restaurants and airports, so it should be no different anywhere else.
Ensuring the network is up to their standards is an ongoing challenge that can be costly. To offset these costs, companies can look to their WiFi network for new revenue opportunities.
In addition to the real-time improvements that can be made to services, companies can generate income by offering advertising space. Agreements between the venue and retailers/vendors could be drawn up with the venue WiFi displaying the vendor's ad for a period of time for a fee. As users log in to the WiFi, they could be greeted with advertising videos or special offers.
Discover WiFi SPARK’s Recent Large Scale Deployments
Take a look at case studies from WiFi SPARK to see how we’ve approached network deployments in the past. Our platform allows companies to utilise a new revenue stream, improve customer engagement and boost brand loyalty.
Click on the link below to download our retail case study and find out more about WiFi SPARK.