The benefits of a managed Wi-Fi mesh solution
by Mårten Olsson
One of the most common problems with Wi-Fi is losing signal around the house. Luckily, communication service provides (CSPs) can help customers eradicate such “dead zones” by offering a mesh Wi-Fi solution. In this article we will look deeper into the workings of a mesh network and how offering a managed mesh solution will benefit both the CSP and their customer.
Mesh versus extenders
There are several ways to improve Wi–Fi coverage – some better than others. Wi–Fi boosters, repeaters, and extenders are essentially the same thing. Such devices typically connect to an existing network and relay traffic back to the wireless router under a new network name. Unless the user manually switches back and forth between networks as they move around the house, their devices will stay on the same network until it’s completely out of range. Merely repeating a signal also means that if the extender is receiving a weak signal, it can only re–broadcast a weak signal.
And then there’s mesh. Instead of using a just a gateway with limited coverage to provide Wi-Fi, mesh solutions use several devices with Wi-Fi signal that work within the same network. This way in the Wi-Fi signal covers the entire home, to a degree that far exceeds the abilities of a single gateway – especially when sharing that network across multiple devices. It’s similar to having a number of routers, but mesh nodes broadcast the same network name, which enables Wi-Fi devices, like phones and laptops, to roam between these access points as they choose. Thus, creating a seamless Wi-Fi network.
What is managed Wi-Fi mesh?
Only providing mesh equipment, however, will not solve all your customers Wi-Fi problems. When things are not working as they should, the customers will call customer services. This is where managed services come into play.
A managed mesh solution creates the possibility to monitor the network beyond the broadband socket. That way CSPs can get an overview of what the network looks like and how well it’s functioning inside the home, along with all the smart home connected devices in the Wi-Fi network – TV, lighting, refrigerator etc.
By using a device management platform the CSP can configure and monitor mesh nodes and get full control and visibility of the end-user mesh network. This is, however, only possible if the equipment used by the customers is provided by the CSP themselves and equipped with the right device software. If the customer doesn’t use the equipment provided by the CSP, the possibility to monitor network quality ends at the fiber socket.
Why a managed Wi-Fi mesh solution will benefit you and your customers
Offering a mesh Wi-Fi management solution makes it possible for the CSP to give better and more personalized service to the customers. By being able monitor the ongoings in the Wi-Fi network, customer service agents can give hands-on advice about what to do to improve network quality when customers are experiencing problems with their connection. It also means that the customers get help quicker and less time is spent on customer support calls, thereby lowering cost.
It also makes it possible for you as a communication service provider to take proactive measures. The device management platform will receive indications of problems inside a network at an early stage and can therefore take action before the customer even notices the problem. Receiving such information also creates opportunities for you to offer upsales of additional equipment when advising the customer on measures to take to achieve optimal network quality.
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