It may seem like wiring and cabling are a thing of the past, after all wifi and mobile technologies are popular and ubiquitous. Bandwidths and speeds are increasing all the time. Our wire-free future is surely just around the corner…?
Apparently not. According to Chris Jones, CDI Group Director, “we might be working faster than ever on wireless networks, from remote corners of the country, but businesses still need higher quality, consistency, security and stability. And until wireless can deliver on these, people will be demanding cabling installations for many more years”.
So, what’s the problem with wireless?
In most instances wireless is likely to be just as fast as cabling – all depending on the quality of the broadband connection or the cabling connection of course.
With wireless there is always a limit to your available speed and signal, although a clever hack to this is to piggy-back connection points to boost speed and reduce coldspots.
So, surprisingly, speed is not usually the main problem with wireless, but quality of (wired or wireless) installation most certainly matters. Stability is more likely to create problems than speed alone.
Whereas hard wired cabling is a permanent connection, wireless can drop, you can go out of range, lose connection. All this does not make for a stable connection. And whilst most of the time that’s fine, you can rely on comedic timing that your oh-so-stable wifi connection will drop just as you Skype to the MD or an important customer.
One of the joys of wireless is the ability to move about. The mobility it provides means that you can hot-desk all day long. There’s a real benefit to sitting alongside a colleague and accessing your own data on your own mobile device. However, wireless and 4G aren’t the same in all situations. Work on the floor above or below – or try working in the basement, and you can uncover all sorts of cold-spots. Which eventually creates a consistency issue that’s just not acceptable.
You only have to look to our national newspapers to find yet another article about phone hacking or data-hacking. The facts are clear – if you want a 100% secure network, then wireless simply isn’t the option for you.
To boost security – firewalls can be installed alongside your wireless router, but ultimately fibre-optic cabling provides the highest security possible with fibre to cabinet and then CAT6 or CAT7 copper networking to desk. Of course this means people are not 100% mobile, but staff can plug devices in at any desk or office.
A fairly standard option to ensure better security is to have the following setup:
-Guest wifi – for visitors to your business
-Internal/staff wifi – secured network
-Hardwired backbone, with fibre-optic to cabinet and CAT6 or CAT7 copper wiring to desk.
Integrating Cabling with Wireless
Many companies operate using hard-wired networks and simultaneously integrate these with wireless. Managing the process this way gives an option to boost connection speed if wireless is stronger, but has a fail-safe switch to the hardwired network if wireless fails.
And in the final analysis, wireless is not truly wireless anyway.
Something that many customers don’t realise is that even if they go wireless, it still needs to work on a properly installed cabling network backbone. So wireless – well it’s only as good as the hard-wired network that supports it.