Whether you’re a large resort, a small condominium association, a commercial property or multiple location restaurant – in order to remain up to date with technology and savvy in the eyes of your customers or residents, you need a reliable wireless network. But what happens when you start bidding out the job only to come across proposal after proposal with wildly different numbers and solutions. Which vendor do you choose? What type of equipment is the best? If you’re running into some issues bidding out your commercial wireless installation, or are trying to re-do your existing wireless network, here are some common mistakes to avoid:
Not understanding what your goals are. In order to best serve your residents or customers, you need to understand exactly what your goals are. Will you providing access to hotel guests or residents? Will you be charging a daily or weekly rate or providing the wireless service for free? Do you want a minimal amount of best-effort coverage or 100% guaranteed coverage? Setting clear goals from the get-go will help your wireless contractor best determine the infrastructure that will work for your needs.
Not setting a realistic budget. The cost of commercial wireless installation can vary depending on your needs and the coverage area that you require. From $500 for a single access point in a small office to $50,000 for 100+ access points on a large resort. The important thing to understand is that you need to set the appropriate budget for your needs. Hiring a trustworthy partner with experience in commercial wireless is a great place to start, or you can engage an external consultant to help ensure that you’re comparing apples to apples when looking at bids and setting a budget.
Purchasing non-commercial equipment. Perhaps one of the most important aspects of the wireless installation is ensuring that you’re purchasing the appropriate equipment. You can’t purchase standard equipment to go outside at a beach resort that will be exposed to heat, saltwater and rain. You also want to avoid purchasing standard, non-commercial equipment for commercial uses. Make sure that your equipment can handle the load it will take on and be as reliable as possible. Residential-class devices are not designed to handle the capacity that a commercial wireless network demands and you’ll ultimately sacrifice performance for price.
Not understanding configuration or determining best access options. The next step is to understand how the network will be configured. Do you want to use a landing page or do you want guests to enter a password? From a usability standpoint this is important to consider and each requires a different configuration. Large resorts and hotels might need a landing page where a user accepts terms and puts in their room number information while a condominium may be able to utilize passwords for a wireless network. Additionally, make sure there is a central portal where management can see the status of each device so when guests call with issues they can determine immediately if its the network or the guests device to blame.
Perhaps the most important thing to remember when bidding your commercial wireless network installation is that you should work with a seasoned professional with references and experience in the type of network that you require. If you have a vendor that is recommending purchasing residential routers or access points or bids that vary significantly – remember that you get what you pay for. Investing in a quality solution the first time around means that you won’t need to re-do the work and will be supported by a reliable company in the long term.