Coworking Wi-Fi: How to Beat Common Blunders

WIFI FOR COWORKING

To provide the best Coworking Wi-Fi and Internet connectivity for workspace members, operators must optimize signal strength and bolster high-performance Wi-Fi. In our 16+ years of experience, we’ve found some common pitfalls can affect the dynamic and technical pieces that make a wireless network function optimally.

Poor Planning

Whether you’re a longtime workspace operator or new market player, you must plan your Coworking Wi-Fi very carefully. Poor building construction and distant access point locations negatively affect the strength of the Wi-Fi signal. Obstruction by building structures such as walls and pillars cause disrupted connections and often spots of little to no coverage throughout spaces.

Access points need to be placed to give optimum coverage of the target area at the lowest possible power settings, using channels that don’t interfere with each other. Professional site surveys will determine how many and where to place access points for optimal Wi-Fi coverage in the workspace.

Too Many Wireless Networks

Some operators allow their tenants and members to install their own access points or configure their own Wi-Fi networks using SOHO (for Small Office/Home Office) devices. This leads to incredible interference and often completely unusable Wi-Fi – even when they’re right next to your own access points. These devices are unreliable and less secure than enterprise solutions and can lead to chaos in the channel spectrum. As we mentioned, when there are multiple Wi-Fi networks in a relatively confined space they fight for access to a free channel. This channel interference leads to slow speeds and dropped connections.

The best way to avoid this is to prohibit your members from setting up their own wireless devices in your space. Offering proper Coworking Wi-Fi with infrastructure designed specifically for multi-tenanted workspaces is the best solution for reliable connectivity.

Bandwidth Hogs

If the network is not segmented one user can hog all of the available internet speed. This can cause significant slowdowns for everyone else on the network. Skype, Dropbox, YouTube and other data draining app usage can cause slower transfer speeds and overall poor user experience for your coworking members.

There are ways to see how much bandwidth is used over time. But there are few solutions that actually track usage by network device without. Technology solutions engineered exclusively for multi-tenanted workspaces, however, can show you how much bandwidth is being used and by whom. Dedicated VLANs (Virtual Local Area Networks) for your tenants, especially those renting private offices in a shared workspace, put everyone on a level playing field. With content consumption on the rise, the ability to allocate more bandwidth is becoming a more attractive feature in coworking operators and occupants alike.

Not Wiring Up

To improve Coworking Wi-Fi, fitting out your space with cable Internet connectivity at each workstation, especially for your more “stationary” resident members, can alleviate the strain on the Wi-Fi network and ensure better connectivity speeds.

Signal strength isn’t everything. It’s more about the number of devices and APs on the network.  The more devices you have to contend with – those in your control, those of your tenants, those of guests and visitors – the more complex it gets. Therefore, it follows that a valid solution is to un-Wi-Fi anything that is static and can use a cable. Wire up as many things as you can. The fewer devices connected to Wi-Fi, the less competition for data in transit across channels, and the better the Wi-Fi performance for the mobile users that do need it.

If you’re a Coworking operator, we strongly recommended you fit out your workspace with traditional Cat-5, 6 or 7 cabling to deliver an Ethernet connection at each workstation. It’s cheaper to cable your coworking space from Day 1 and your members will thank you for it later.

Up Next

Once you get past these common oversights, your next main concern should be security. In Part III of this series, we’ll pick apart the weaknesses of an unsecured wireless network in any shared workspace.

Wireless for Coworking and Shared Workspaces

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Amanda Fanoun

I'm the Queen of Content here at essensys. When I'm not writing enticing and educational workspace-related articles, I'm out and about with friends and family, trying new restaurants, traveling, keeping fit and planning my next adventure.

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