Wireless Internet in a Shared Space (Part 2)

Support Matters

Whether a shared space has in house support or outsourced, there needs to be a good route for getting support when problems arise. Most of the time, if there is a large number of Patrons indicating a problem, a fast path to resolution is needed. Here are some suggestions:

• Have devices placed throughout the facility that measure signal strength. Many shared spaces use tablets or iPads to show room meeting bookings – these can be great indicators of wireless strength throughout the facility. They are also plain sight tools for not only for the IT support but are also indicators for staff and patrons to look at and verify if the quality of wireless coverage. This should not be a solution-based tool, but used to shorten the time to resolution.

• The best support has a fast response time. The business model of the shared space should determine the response time and time to begin working towards resolution. This may also include an after-hours response time.

You Can Lead A Horse To Water…

It is an old idiom, but it does apply to a shared workspace. There is a piece of success in this environment that falls on the shoulders of the patron. They are responsible for bringing a device that is capable of connecting to the wireless network. There are multiple factors on the individual devices that could prevent them from connecting to current technology requirements of a modern wireless environment. Wrong hardware drivers (or really old ones), user ignorance (they don’t know how to connect), customized devices, infected devices, really old, outdated tech, and even broken devices!

You can provide a stable, well covered, strong wireless network for your patrons, but they still have to connect to it – and they need to bring devices that are capable of connecting. You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink.

Sometimes It Isn’t Enough

Suppose you have a thermostat on the wall, and it is set to 72 degrees. A patron comes in to use the space and says, “it’s warm in here.” Well, like a good customer service rep, you dial the thermostat to 70 degrees. Ten minutes later, the patron indicates it is still warm, even though everyone else in the room is shivering. The question is, is it too warm in the room? Or could your patron have a fever, perhaps he just ran a 5K, or maybe his internal temperature is just naturally a few degrees higher than everyone else’s.

The point here is, the wireless coverage in a shared workspace will not fit the bill for every single patron, but it is important to make sure your strength, coverage, and capacity will suit the masses – and you have a support team to back that infrastructure up.

Set The Expectation

Every shared workspace should have a disclaimer. Whether this is framed on the wall, or even in the splash page of your wireless network. Wireless is not perfect – it is not uninterruptable or error-free, and there is no guarantee of the coverage, speed, or quality of wireless. Wireless cannot beat the good old hardwired Ethernet cable.

It would be a very forward idea to create a statement indicating that this is a shared workspace and we use enterprise grade equipment to provide a well-grounded wireless environment. This is a very different environment from a home network or a small business office network. We provide the highest level and quality of products in the corporate industry that wireless has to offer. While we provide the utmost quality and coverage in our wireless space we cannot guarantee that the thousands of wireless devices our patrons use will all 100% be able to connect to and maintain a wireless connection with our network. Even though we can’t promise perfection we can promise that should you have a problem connecting to the wireless network we are more than happy to help provide some guidance and even some steps that can give you a great wireless experience.

So What’s The Good News?

If there’s a good system pushing out wireless in a space, chances are you’ll be just fine – as long as your venue has their bases covered and understands their technology. Sure, wireless isn’t bulletproof but it is a very convenient medium and good for the drop in, work, and head out worker.

For those large group meetings – consider requesting an ethernet cord to ensure you have an unhindered connection to the network – even if wireless is stellar.