The way we access our information is rapidly changing. Remember dial-up internet? Since then, the web and our methods of staying connected have completely changed. The latest trends in connectivity cut all ties, both literal and figurative, with the wired web of the past. Just because something is new and popular, doesn’t mean it’s implementing best practices and is optimized for network security. So, should you wire your office up for data or transfer your network to wireless? Let’s dive into the pros and cons of wired vs. wireless connectivity in business and why wired wins.
Wireless Connection: Benefits
The obvious benefits of a wireless network is the lack of physical wires! We all know that familiar feeling of waging war with a tangled mess of wires. A wireless network is easy to use and accommodates changes in a network without cords and cables. Adding new desks and employees? A wireless network is the easiest logistical choice.
Additionally, with the total proliferation of mobile devices in our lives (the workplace included), a wireless network is easier for employees to connect their personal devices to the network. An easily accessible network is paramount when considering the happiness of an iPhone toting workforce.
Wireless Connection: Disadvantages
While keeping employees connected on their mobile devices is an important aspect of establishing an office network, this ease of use can open the entire network up for security problems. Information Technology decision makers (ITDMs) believe wireless networks to be the most vulnerable element of the IT infrastructure, according to a new survey. Nearly half (49%) of respondents ranked wireless networks as most exposed from a security standpoint, in contrast to just 29% for the core network. Of course, if the mobile devices are owned by the company, it would be easier to maintain security standards, but as soon as employees are allowed into the wireless network with their own personal devices, the entire system becomes vulnerable to hacking and viruses.
The most obvious and detrimental disadvantage to a wireless network is the fact that sensitive and private data is saturating the airwaves. Sending confidential information through a wireless network can be safe, but it can’t ever be as safe as a wired network. If your company deals with confidential and personal information, a wireless network would be a liability.
Wireless technology has improved over the years, but is still not as fast as a wired connection on a local network. This may not be an issue for things like internet traffic, but when connecting to resources on your local network such as file shares, this could be noticed from a performance perspective.
Wired Connection: Benefits
A wired network obviously incorporates physical network into the data connection. The wires enable increased security, control, reliability, and speed. Using physical connections might not seem as advances as the wireless alternative, but it is the superior choice when your data is precious and confidential. If your business values security over hip trends in tech, a wireless network is the obvious choice.
Wired connects are always going to be faster and more consistent than wireless connections. If you are connecting to a local database such as Quickbooks, an unstable wireless connection could greatly affect the performance of the software.
Keeping your network wired also insures that the network won’t get bogged down with non-essential traffic. Unauthorized users can’t jump on your network, obviously increasing security. Additionally, those iPhones and tablets might make for a happier workforce, but is that because they are being more productive, benefiting from the increased accessibility of a wireless network, or it is because they are browsing Amazon or Facebook while on the clock?
Wired Connection: Disadvantages
The only real shortcoming a wired office has is the physical wires. If the sight of a wire makes you cringe, go for the wireless alternative. The fact that those wires offer superior connection/security/control/speed is an important thing to weigh against visible wires. But, if you are a savvy business owner, those wires might start to look like little life-lines, ensuring your office remains safe and secure, better able to conduct business with that hard-wired peace of mind.