Wireless / Wifi as a Service (WaaS) provides turnkey internet access solutions for multi-user business networks. The cloud managed wifi service offers many features that are beneficial to business operations, including:
- Increased uptime
- Advanced network security features
- Scalability in response to user demand
- Network segmentation & BYOD features
- 24/7 monitoring and reporting (analytics dashboard)
How does Wifi as a Service Work?
Wifi as a Service (WaaS) is configured and implemented to best serve network access demands. Therefore, WaaS is delivered to the customer as a complete turnkey design. This means that all aspects of the service are typically inclusive, from planning and installing the necessary IT infrastructure to the measures put in place to monitor and manage the system.
The different stages of Wifi as a Service include:
- Design Phase - This phase will likely include an on-site visit from technical staff working on behalf of the vendor. Consideration will be given to the locations and type of wifi antennas required.
- Implementation Phase (access points) - The implementation phase involves carrying out all necessary work to install and configure the wifi network. This involves all cabling and access point placements.
- Real-Time Network Monitoring - Depending on the services offered by the WaaS vendor, the option of outsourced monitoring and support may be available, freeing up IT staff for core business functions.
Where the vendor of a WaaS solution provides the user with access to 24/7 Customer Support as part of the subscription based package, the user may stand to benefit from reduced costs relating to lowered staffing demands (including the reduced associated costs of physical IT infrastructure and space in which to house specialist IT staff).
What are the Benefits of WaaS?
Wireless / Wifi as a Service (WaaS) provides users with real time data on the availability and usage of the in-house wifi network. The combination of relatime and historical data regarding wifi network usage allows for insights in terms of capacity demands (network scalability), potential device compatibility issues, and localised demand for application access.
- Air gapped service - Wireless / Wifi as a Service (WaaS) offers an air gapped service. An air gap is a security measure that ensures complete compartmentalisation of the on-site business network - i.e. outside users cannot gain access to the business network via an external private network or via the public internet.
- Dashboard - The Wireless / Wifi as a Service vendor will provide the user with access to a dashboard overview of the wifi network. This dashboard overview serves to present the service user with historical and current data including the number of return visitors and all movement between access points - this knowledge can help to drive network improvements.
- Location analytics - Location analytics provides data such as the type of device being used, where the device is being used within the wifi network (i.e. which access point), the time of day that the device was used to access the company wifi network, and connectivity duration. This information provides actionable insights regarding IT infrastructure.
Depending on the type of service that the Wireless / Wifi as a Service provider is able to offer, the user may also benefit from access to graphs and heatmaps. This style of data gives an at-a-glance overview of the demands upon the wifi network, meaning fact-checked changes to the physical IT infrastructure can be made to better serve the user base.
Bring Your Own Device - Network Security with WaaS
Wireless / Wifi as a Service provides users with additional security measures regarding Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) technology. BYOD is the practice of granting limited network access to a non-network or ‘visiting’ device (e.g. a laptop or smartphone belonging to a customer/client). Where a user anticipates BYOD activity, WaaS can help in two ways:
The WaaS vendor is able to help the user in setting up compartmentalised network access parameters, meaning visiting can access selected data stored on the server.
The WaaS vendor may be able to assist the user in revoking access to devices and remotely wiping data from selected devices (data can be deleted from stolen devices).