COVID-19 has changed the way businesses operate. Many positions have now been decentralized to allow or encourage remote working, while others rejoin in the workspace. In compliance, and to embrace the new expectations of employees, business owners/managers are addressing these 3 updates:
- reconfiguring indoor spaces
- getting outdoor WiFi
- implementing contact tracing
Each of these involves your WiFi network in some capacity. In this article, we’ll cover what business owners need to consider when implementing these 3 safety measures.
1. Reconfiguring & Renovating Indoor Spaces
Many offices are reconfiguring workspaces to better enable social distancing. However, as we build partitions and office spaces, we’re also changing how the WiFi signal moves throughout these spaces. This could potentially create some unwanted performance issues.
Fewer people, stronger WiFi signal right?
Not exactly. You may be thinking, “I now have fewer employees in a workspace at a given time, so I don’t need to reconfigure my network or add any more access points.”
While the human density may drop, partitioning your spaces could still cause attenuation (reduction of the WiFi signal) and ultimately deaden the signal. Any barrier will degrade a WiFi signal.
Different materials have different effects on a WiFi signal
Aluminum: Did you know that aluminum (sometimes found inside walls and commercial doors) reflects the WiFi signal? If this is the case in your workspace, you would need a dedicated AP in each space, no matter the capacity.
Plexiglas: Yes, even Plexiglass can disrupt your WiFi signal. A study performed by a student at USC to test the effects different materials have on a WiFi signal showed that there is a slight signal loss. While still significantly less than a wall, if you have a ton of Plexiglas partitions in place, it can add up to a lot of lag time at work.
Include us, or your own IT team, in any renovations or reconfiguring.
There are stories of construction workers relocating APs walls or ceilings. It creates a lot of chaos for the IT team and negatively affects the WiFi connections for employees.
If you’re experiencing WiFi problems after a renovation, or if you want expertise in WiFi enhancing prior to reconfiguring your space, give us a call – an ounce of prevention.
2. Outdoor WiFi
In the “new normal” of business, many are adding outdoor WIFI as a perk for the team, and as a way to mitigate social distancing requirements. This is a great idea considering fresh air and nature help spark creativity (weather permitting). Outdoor WIFI requires weatherproof and temperature resistant hardware, and placement to compensate for signal absorbing organic matter. We can help.
What is Outdoor Mesh WiFi?
Outdoor Mesh WiFi is a wireless backhaul solution that delivers data to the backbone of the network. Mesh gives you the ability to boost and extend your coverage throughout an outdoor area and since there is no cabling involved, it can help reduce your total investment cost.
Mesh has gotten a lot of attention because of its cost-effectiveness compared to a wired network. But every hero needs a villain: Your bandwidth will be compromised since radios are using the same channels.
3. COVID Contact Tracing:
Manual contact tracing requires the detective work of trained staff who interviewed people diagnosed with a contagious disease to figure out who they may have been in recent contact. This leaves a lot of room for human error because it relies on the memory recall of individuals to create a list of people that may have been exposed to the virus.
WiFi-based contact tracing combines WiFi data and AI machine-learning software to give you a report of everyone that has come into contact with an employee or guest who has tested positive for Covid. Like any silo of your business, automation can do the heavy lifting saving labor and increasing accuracy.
This is how it works:
- Each WiFi-enabled device gets onboarded with device registration software.
- Your WiFi tracks each device’s location by utilizing telemetry data.
- When HR is informed of a Covid positive person, HR logs-in and generates a report of everyone that has been in recent contact with the infected person.
A contact tracing solution can also provide some insight into areas of high occupancy that may need a focused cleaning. This could save your business thousands of dollars in labor by leveraging the technology investments that you already have made.
It’s time to plan and step ahead.
While there are a lot of safety concerns to consider as an immediate response, business owners should also consider the long-term strategy. This includes upgrading your systems with more capable hardware, more capable software, and business intelligence.
If you’re ready to make changes in your workspace, give the team at Custom Cabling a call. We’ll take a look at your current setup, any future changes and create a WiFi signal in all of your spaces that’s fast and reliable, so you can get back to running your business.
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