How to Set Up a Safe and Fast Business Wi-Fi Network

Over three quarters of American adults now own a smartphone,1 and a business Wi-Fi network lets your customers or visitors access internet on their mobile devices without using up precious data.

Free Wi-Fi access is no longer unique to coffee shops—plenty of latte-less businesses support wireless internet access because it’s simply good business. A wireless solution could also be essential if your employees frequently use phones or laptops for work. Either way, if you’re planning on creating a business Wi-Fi network, it’s important to review a few important points that will protect your business and keep any Wi-Fi users happy.

Necessary equipment

First things first: you’ll need internet access. Scout out the best business-grade satellite or fiber internet providers with your business’s needs in mind, and choose the one you think fits your company best.

Find the best internet providers in your area.

For home offices or small businesses, you don’t really need all that much hardware for a wireless network setup. The key piece of hardware will be a wireless router—a device that lets multiple computers or phones access the same network. The router attaches to the modem provided by your internet service provider (ISP) and shares the internet connection. In some cases, the modem and router might be combined into one device.

If your guest network needs to expand to multiple floors or rooms, you might need additional access points to avoid poor performance. Different devices expand your network’s coverage in alternate ways and come with different names to match—boosters, repeaters, and extenders. Find the type of setup your business needs to make sure no one in your business space is struggling with a weak signal. As you add access points, you might need to consider a wireless local area network (or WLAN) controller to manage multiple access points in one place.

The key pieces of hardware will be a wireless router and a modem—which in some cases, will be combined into one device.

The devices connecting to your network will also need to be wireless-enabled, of course, but nowadays, all mobile devices should be Wi-Fi ready. Keep in mind that any desktop computers might need additional hardware (in lieu of an Ethernet cable) to connect to Wi-Fi.

Managed networks

Although a wireless network does a lot of work on its own, it still needs a bit of management and support from time to time. ISPs sometimes offer managed networks to their business customers, taking over monitoring and managing tasks to free up time for your employees. These tasks might include the following:

  • Optimizing system performance
  • Monitoring download speeds
  • Collecting data on a daily basis
  • Device troubleshooting
  • Updating firmware
  • Managing network controls and restraints
  • Connection point-of-sale (POS) devices like tablets or registers
  • Connecting Internet of Things (IoT) devices like laptops and smart phones

An in-house IT team can work on these tasks. But if your business would rather spend that time elsewhere, a managed network could be the perfect solution. You can talk to your current ISP about network management if it’s available, or you can look for a business that will offer that support right from the start.

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Network security

You don’t want to overlook network security any more than you want to leave your business doors unlocked at night—either mistake could cost you. Hackers can steal secure data from your business or your customers if you don’t take the necessary steps to protect your wireless network.

Hackers can steal data from your business or customers if you don’t take steps to protect your wireless network.

One of the simplest things you can do is to change your default service set identifier (SSID). An SSID is the name of your network, which allows others to find and hook up to it. You might not get to use a network name as creative as the neighbors’ in your apartment building, but you definitely want to avoid sticking with the default name. The default will often give compromising information about your network, which will make a hacker’s job easier.

You’ll also want to ensure your router uses a more secure encryption protocol like WPA2 (Wi-Fi Protected Access 2) and not an outdated protocol like WEP (Wired Equivalent Privacy). You can change to WPA security under your router’s settings or upgrade your router if the option isn’t available.

Finally, it’s also essential to separate private and public access of your network. You don’t want your customers on the same network as your employees. You can use different service set identifiers (SSIDs), one for your business network and one for your guest network, to separate the two.

Other considerations

Best Small Business Internet Providers
Verizon
Best overall
AT&T Business
Best for customer service
Spectrum Business
Top no-contract pick
Viasat
Best for rural offices
Frontier Business
Best bundles

For the most part, investing in Wi-Fi solutions is always a plus in the workplace, but paying attention to a few key details will make sure both you and your Wi-Fi users are happy.

First, take advantage of a network splash page to advertise your business and offers. When clients connect to the network, they are directed to a customized landing page. You can include ads or special offers on that page, or you might simply want to market your brand with a logo and a nice message.

Second, plan for business growth or make adjustments when needed. You might think performance is fine on slow days at the office, but adding too many users and devices can strain the system.

Third, make sure your Wi-Fi coverage reaches every area of your business space. For Wi-Fi networks with more users, a 5GHz configuration is often the preferred choice because it isn’t as busy as the 2.4GHz option. However, the speedier signal comes with a shorter range as well. So whether it’s because of range issues or thick walls, your network might have dead spots where people struggle to connect.

Consider range extenders if you find dead spots no matter where you place your wireless router. If you’re having a hard time tracking down dead spots, a site survey tracking software can help you capture your wireless signal strength data in your business space.

Not sure which option will help you grow? Transform your business with a free assessment, and get a tailored recommendation for services that will drive better results. Call 855-983-1267

Takeaways

For most businesses, a Wi-Fi guest network makes a lot of sense. And even if your business doesn’t have visitors, your employees might favor the freedom of Wi-Fi for their laptops instead of a network cable. Use this article to pin down some of the important steps to take as you set up your business Wi-Fi. And please let us know about any other important Wi-Fi tips you’ve come across in the comments below!

Disclaimers

At Business.org, our research is meant to offer general product and service recommendations. We don’t guarantee that our suggestions will work best for each individual or business, so consider your unique needs when choosing products and services.

Sources

  1. Pew Research Center, “Mobile Fact Sheet
  • Rachel Williams

    How do you choose which network provider you will be using if it is for a business? I mean so far whichever ones I have tried have network problems some more than other but its never issue free. Also I think the rates are different for business services as compared to the residential ones or like when you get services for home. I am starting up a business where I cannot afford to have a bad internet connection and a lot of my time and energy right now is invested in calling different providers checking what they have to offer It takes a lot of patience to do that and I am pretty exhausted to say the least!

    • luca changrita

      Hello Rachel, may I first know where you are responding from? First of all I would suggest you to get a complete IT team for your business to start with, because higher the work load, higher the chances of getting it prone to viruses, attacks and other illegal stuff. Secondly, once it’s done, then you need to really check your supplier very carefully. It’ll be really better if you check what they offer for internet connection must be through fiber connection. Some companies offer a lot of good packages but through copper wire which is next to nothing. Secondly, you will need to make sure their customer service is always intact because lag is normal, bad service is not. Make sure, to check some reviews on internet too so that you face some really less issues. I personally belong from USA and have tried many different providers so I might be able to give you some first hand experience if you’re from USA too. Hope it helps

      • Rachel Williams

        Hi Luca I really appreciate your timely response. I am setting up a business in Florida and I have read a couple of reviews even on business.org I heard xfinity is providing a good service in Florida but I was not impressed with the reviews people had left for Xfinity. It is a small business about 15-20 people using internet at once I am hoping for the team to expand soon though that is why I wanted to ensure a quality connection. Some providers have an early termination fee and I dont think I would like to pay for cancelling a service after using it for a short period of time and not getting the job done you know. Please recommend something I have to get this done within a month and so far I have close to no leads