Security, connectivity, mobility, configuration – the enterprise network is an exercise in complexity unless management is refined and streamlined, says Craig Blignaut, Product Manager, Wi-Fi at Vox.

Connectivity is fundamental to a thriving enterprise. Cloud sprawl, security, scale, inflexibility, compatibility, integration – these are pervasive challenges for organisations wanting connectivity that’s capable of managing user demands and their infrastructure. Yet, as a recent Forrester survey found, 40% of organisations feel that they are losing control over their technology estates thanks to a lack of cloud connectivity – they want more connectivity options and better control over their estate so they can modernise at speed. The problem is…the problem of connectivity.

For most companies, Wi-Fi is an internally managed resource which can inhibit its ability to flex on demand and provide agile support in the event of a failure or downtime. Internal teams only have so many resources at their disposal, and these resources are stretched across users, security and systems. Ideally, the enterprise needs a connectivity platform that can change shape on demand without putting undue pressure on internal resources, and without running the risk of downtime.

These are just some of the reasons why companies are turning to managed Wi-Fi solutions to take the burden off the business’s shoulders. The market is projected to reach $90 billion by 2030, growing at a CAGR of 14.42% over the next seven years. It aligns with research released by Forrester in mid-2023 that highlighted the rise of the business-optimised network (BON) – a network designed for the business. It’s not as obvious as it sounds. The network has always been designed for the business but it also hasn’t. Networks were, as Forrester points out, simply there to connect devices and repositories. Now they are the critical backbone of the enterprise’s architecture, connecting ports, storage, people, technologies, geographies and ecosystems.

In short, they’re not really being correctly designed for the business because they aren’t taking every component and use case into consideration. Managed Wi-Fi allows for the business to step-shift away from convoluted complexity and an over-reliance on a Wi-Fi architecture that isn’t ideally suited to its needs and instead benefit from hands-on convenience and support within a reliable and performance-optimised ecosystem. ISP-managed Wi-Fi solutions provide companies with all-in-one packages that include both the internet service and the Wi-Fi technology so companies don’t need to think about setting things up, troubleshooting the system or ensuring every touchpoint is operating optimally. It becomes someone else’s problem.

Which is nice, because solving that problem via a managed service provider also brings reliability, performance and security.

Quality equipment, optimal network performance, optimised settings, regular maintenance, firmware updates, and robust security features are included in a managed Wi-Fi service. These are time-consuming essentials that have traditionally slowed IT teams down or affected overall network performance. Managed means value-added in that controls and capabilities are dealt with by the service provider and any potential vulnerabilities are rapidly resolved with regular security updates.

The other benefit that comes with shifting responsibility across to a managed service provider is a significant reduction in downtime. Security patches, errors, vulnerability management and network inefficiencies are dealt with rapidly and often without the need to reboot the entire system and leave the office without critical connectivity. It’s an immediate return on investment thanks to reduced downtime and inefficiencies, particularly for companies dealing with remote workers and a global client base.

An accredited Wi-Fi specialist team is essentially a certified support system that delivers connected peace of mind. It’s that simple. While the as-a-Service model is hardly new, shifting Wi-Fi into this realm can help organisations better optimise their services and the design of their networks, effectively overcoming the challenge Forrester raised earlier. A managed Wi-Fi provider assesses the needs of the business and designs a network that meets those needs across key factors such as coverage, capacity and interference. They also manage deployment, configuration and monitoring while allowing for the business to scale on demand.

Taking Wi-Fi into a managed space can help organisations refine their connectivity and costs at a time when both are essential to growth and resilience.