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Most customers today expect to have Wi-Fi everywhere, all the time: in restaurants, shops, airports, concert halls, etc. Establishments are well aware of the need for connectivity in places open to the public, and are increasingly turning to cloud-based Wi-Fi solutions. This is also known as “managed Wi-Fi”, “managed Wi-Fi” or “Wi-Fi as a Service” (WaaS). This model involves using a Wi-Fi service provider rather than deploying, configuring and administering Wi-Fi on your own.

For businesses, opting for a Wi-Fi solution in the cloud means taking advantage of reliable, secure (and often cheaper) Wi-Fi, without having to worry about the drawbacks. Let’s take a closer look at the advantages of Wi-Fi in the cloud.

Summary

  • How does Wi-Fi in the cloud work?
  • Advantage 1: Easy to deploy
  • Advantage 2 : Easy administration and technical support
  • Advantage 3: High performance and scalability
  • Advantage 4: Cost optimisation and return on investment
  • And what about the disadvantages?

 

How does Wi-Fi in the cloud work?

Wi-Fi in the cloud does not work with a traditional network infrastructure. With this type of model, the network infrastructure is not provided by the business itself (the restaurant or venue wishing to deploy the Wi-Fi network, for example), but by the Wi-Fi solution provider. This Wi-Fi is based on a cloud managed by a third party and is accessible via several access points. The supplier is responsible for installing, securing and maintaining the Wi-Fi. Establishments no longer have to worry about this.

For customers or visitors who use Wi-Fi in the cloud, there is no difference compared to a network deployed on a traditional infrastructure, only advantages: Wi-Fi that is often faster, and with fewer breakdowns.

 

Advantage 1: Ease of deployment

Deploying a Wi-Fi network requires a range of technical skills that companies do not necessarily have in-house. Companies wishing to deploy Wi-Fi in the cloud entrust the entire project to a service provider. The service provider handles all aspects of the project on behalf of its customers: support and advice, on-site technical audits, provision and installation of the equipment needed to deploy Wi-Fi, connection to the Internet, supervision and maintenance of the equipment, connection portal, etc.

By entrusting the entire deployment of Wi-Fi to a supplier, companies feel relieved of a burden and are relieved of a task that they would not necessarily have been able to carry out on their own.

Advantage 2: Easy administration and technical support

Wi-Fi networks in the cloud are also easy to administer. They are generally controlled from a dashboard that groups and manages all the terminals deployed. Configuration is carried out remotely. As the supplier is entirely responsible for connectivity, establishments can devote all their time to their core business without having to worry about Wi-Fi.

This is a major advantage for businesses with no in-house IT team, or with a very small team that cannot absorb the workload involved in deploying a Wi-Fi network. With a centrally managed Wi-Fi solution in the cloud, establishments no longer have to worry about Internet outages, since the supplier is responsible for operational maintenance and upkeep.

Advantage 3: High performance and scalability

The bandwidth of a Wi-Fi connection in the cloud is often better than a traditional connection, which may be sufficient for a small number of devices, but not for very busy places. Wi-Fi networks in restaurants, museums or stadiums, for example, need to allow several hundred (or even several thousand) people to connect at the same time. Wi-Fi in the cloud supports this high demand and generally allows an unlimited number of simultaneous connections.

Businesses that choose Wi-Fi in the cloud also benefit from more recent hardware and can take advantage of the latest Wi-Fi innovations and technologies. Wi-Fi in the cloud also has the advantage of being scalable, meaning that it can evolve according to the needs and activity of the business. If you need to equip new rooms in a hotel or new rooms in a restaurant, deployment will be much simpler with a cloud Wi-Fi solution than with a traditional Wi-Fi solution.

Advantage 4: Cost optimisation and return on investment

The Wi-Fi in the cloud model is also attractive from a financial point of view. Setting up a traditional Wi-Fi infrastructure requires a high level of investment. With cloud-based Wi-Fi, on the other hand, the initial outlay is lower. The cost is smoothed out over time and therefore spread more evenly. The initial investment is reduced, and the company benefits from the best innovations. The ROI of cloud Wi-Fi is therefore particularly attractive.

Lastly, the issue of Wi-Fi in establishments open to the public goes beyond the simple technical debate between “traditional Wi-Fi” and “Wi-Fi in the cloud”. Wi-Fi in the cloud is of great marketing interest. By setting up captive portals, you can get to know your customers and visitors better, offer them personalised content and build loyalty. This is known as a “Wi-Fi marketing” strategy.

 

And what about the drawbacks?

There are few drawbacks to cloud Wi-Fi solutions. It would be more accurate to talk about “fears”. Before opting for this type of solution, businesses fear losing control over their Wi-Fi, since they are delegating all the management of their Wi-Fi to a supplier. They also fear for the storage and security of their data and that of their customers. Cloud Wi-Fi providers know and apply data storage regulations. They also use security protocols that guarantee the confidentiality and integrity of the data for which they are responsible.

 

To summarise

Wi-Fi in the cloud is an attractive solution for establishments wishing to provide their customers and visitors with reliable, scalable and secure Wi-Fi that is easy to deploy and administer. What’s more, cloud Wi-Fi is attractive from a financial and marketing point of view.