Even tech-savvy businesspeople make costly mistakes in their implementation. Here are some common mistakes to avoid:
- Not reaching the entire workspace. Wireless signal strength will vary throughout any office or workspace. You should expect “cold spots” or locations with spotty reception in just about any wireless network, and have a backup plan for reaching these spots.
- Not changing the default password. Too many system administrators leave the default password in place when they set up a wireless network. If you do this with your network, you may as well ask to have your network hacked. For more on this topic, don’t miss Small Business Network Server Security.
- Not knowing how to troubleshoot network problems. Because setting up a wireless network can be a daunting technical challenge, many small business owners enlist the help of qualified technical professionals. If you hire someone to install your network, make sure you test the system thoroughly before the installer leaves the premises. Also be sure you know what to do if something goes wrong.
- Neglecting network security. Firewalls and other security measures are not optional — they’re essential. Don’t even turn on your network until it has been secured against hackers, viruses, and other malware.
- Sharing your Wi-Fi access. Whether it’s a consultant with a laptop or someone else, you can’t afford to have the wrong person accessing your files. Grant access to your wireless network only when absolutely necessary.
- Using obvious passwords. Hackers are very sophisticated and resourceful. Even novice hackers can write programs that try all the typical variations on a password. To counter this, you must use sophisticated passwords. Never use your name, the name of your department, or other obvious information in your passwords. For more information on password security, see Five Rules for Developing Safe and Sane Password Protocol for Your Small Business.
- Failing to take advantage of the network. Many people hook up a wireless system to share an Internet connection, but they don’t take advantage of the ability to share files, a printer, and other peripherals. Small businesses can save hundreds or thousands of dollars by sharing peripheral equipment and increasing productivity through a wireless network.
- Adding too much too quickly. Business owners and managers who embrace the world of wireless technology sometimes make the mistake of adding on too many access points. This can make it difficult for the IT staff to manage the access, bandwidth, and performance of the system. Building large wireless systems needs to be done in stages, with management and the technical team working together from the start.
- Not testing the network. Periodic testing of the network is critical to ensure that it works properly. Don’t wait for your employees to report a problem; be proactive, and look for problems before they escalate and cost you money in lost productivity.