The coronavirus pandemic is altering the way we live, play, and work. In the latter case, remote work—including remote meetings—is becoming an essential part of attempting to conduct business as usual in these trying times. Stable, high-performing Wi-Fi has never been more crucial and challenging.
Network engineers are now tasked with providing remote troubleshooting and Wi-Fi assistance for employees in their homes or remote offices. And there are new considerations, including wider bring your own device (BYOD) policies that could help support connectivity and productivity.
Here are some tips for IT staff and network managers to improve Wi-Fi reliability for remote meetings and virtual work arrangements:
Many more team members will be meeting online, which requires a seamless network connection. This means that network engineers will likely have many more requests coming in to assist remote employees with Wi-Fi troubleshooting—from a far more diverse range of networks.
Using a support request platform that lives on the cloud will enable requests to be accessed from anywhere. Make sure that all IT staff make themselves available throughout the day with quick response times, so that productivity can continue as normal as possible. It may also be wise to include an engineer on video conferences in case a network issue arises during an essential meeting.
Another solution to assist teams is the Mobile Eye from 7SIGNAL, an application that can be installed on any device that conducts continuous passive and active tests of Wi-Fi. Engineers and IT staff can see issues as the end-user experiences them with these tests, and the problems can often be solved before any interruption occurs. Personnel require this kind of monitoring and testing in remote work environments to ensure constant connectivity.
Depending on your company’s policies, it’s not always possible to fully support an employee’s home network. But other vital ways engineers can support home Wi-Fi networks include:
Because the number of virtual meetings will skyrocket during these weeks and possibly months of remote work, it’s especially important to assist workers with using Voice over the Internet Protocol (VoIP) functions and ways to improve video and voice quality. These include using a headset, muting the mic when others are speaking, and ideally using a router that’s optimized for VoIP and video.
You may also need to try out different types of software to see which version works best for the company’s and employees’ specific needs.
Engineers must help ensure that remote networks are functioning correctly for workers—and it’s also crucial to communicate any new security risks and potential issues that individuals may face when working outside of the office.
The massive rise in remote work may demand that engineers support BYOD policies. This allows workers to use devices that are accessible and they’re already familiar with, instead of having them only use company-provided equipment.
But BYOD policies require further education and communication with employees. Be clear about security risks and requirements before individuals can start using their own devices. And make sure the policy for device reimbursement, if applicable, is communicated effectively. Mobility is now a significant part of remote work, and employees need to be using applications that they can access on their mobile devices.
With BYOD devices, it’s also smart to implement further security and accessibility restrictions. One effective tactic is a multi-factor authentication system, in which a worker must provide a second step in authentication beyond a password.
When remote work is a requirement for your business, cloud-based solutions are a must—so that teams are aligned, essential data remains accessible, and productivity doesn’t slow down. Make sure to fully leverage the cloud for data sharing, scheduling, communication, and any necessary support requests.
This principle goes for the tools used by network managers, as well. A cloud-based monitoring solution can keep on-site Wi-Fi networks running smoothly for those who continue to use them—as it will vastly improve troubleshooting and assistance efforts.
7SIGNAL® is a leader in enterprise Wireless Network Monitoring. The 7SIGNAL platform is a cloud-based Wireless Network Monitoring (WNM) solution that continuously troubleshoots the wireless network for performance issues – maximizing network uptime, device connectivity, and network ROI. The platform was designed for the world’s most innovative organizations, educational institutions, hospitals, and government agencies and is currently deployed at Booz Allen Hamilton, IBM, Kaiser Permanente, Walgreens, Microsoft, and many others. 7SIGNAL continuously monitors the connectivity of over 4 million global devices. Learn more at www.7signal.com.