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Network Flexibility and Reliability Are as Fundamental as our A-B-Cs

By Cherie Martin, Senior Solutions Marketing Manager
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Every day had a known rhythm that we trusted and that reliability nurtured our progress and learning. Many of the best work environments mirror the framework and organization experienced at schools—especially those dedicated to providing a best-in-class working environment. Consider how critical WLAN infrastructure has become to having productive, satisfying days at work. We depend on Wi-Fi to work and help us through our good and bad days.

Building Trust with Reliability
Schools have reliability and fault tolerance built into their fabric. Barring a teachers’ strike, students show up every day knowing that a teacher will guide them through their lessons. If a teacher is absent, a substitute shows up and students continue with business as usual. The same is true for a highly reliable Wi-Fi network.

If an access point (AP) is unavailable, the controller automatically assigns another one to close the gap in coverage. Employees can continue doing payroll and making calls without any performance loss. That reliability and fault tolerance also ripples out to remote sites connected to the WAN. If the WAN becomes unstable, the APs should keep working, and the outage should go unnoticed by users as they continue using local applications without performance gaps.

Resiliency and flexibility are two more traits that a reliable WLAN and schools share. Schools support a diverse population where no two students are the same. To meet all of the different needs, classes are designed to let students learn at their own pace. A curious science major can join other science lovers in STEM classes, while those needing specialized education services will follow an individualized education program structured to meet the child’s specific learning needs. Flexibility and options ensure that students can choose the curriculum and methodology that works best for them, rather than being confined to a single learning path.

Similarly, cloud-based management services make for incredibly flexible WLANs. In business—and in life—rarely does one size, one offer, or one anything serve everyone’s needs. What makes cloud-based management so appealing is that it supports a midsize company when it has 50 employees and when it grows to 250 and beyond. A company can choose the service offerings that suit its current needs and forego further investment until their circumstances change. Once they are ready, the services are readily available.

The same flexibility applies to building a WLAN architecture. Just as students can move from one school to another, businesses can shift easily from on-premises to cloud management. A company’s first WLAN design could consist of 12 APs and one on-prem controller, but it’s not stuck to those numbers. If sudden growth drives the need to add additional sites under one management console, they could shift to cloud management. And if they later decide to sell off a part of their business, they can easily separate that location from the rest of the network and glide right back to on-premises management at that location.  A business-class WLAN easily adapts to new demands.

There’s also one more way that our school systems share attributes with a WLAN. Remember those field trips where students visited with local institutions and collaborated with their experts? For me, an eight grade field trip to Washington DC was the pinnacle of the school year. Not only was it my first trip on an airplane and away from my parents, it was a great opportunity to expand on the lessons learned in the classroom by experiencing them in real life.

Similarly, there is considerable value derived from extending lessons learned. For networking, statistics and events that are shared with third-party platforms through APIs or custom integrations are valuable for planning and troubleshooting. Some companies use ServiceNow for service management or Slack to foster collaboration. When these systems are integrated with the WLAN management platform, information can be shared with these third-party services which in-turn enables IT teams to easily apply the information in their day-to-day activities.

Simpler, Easier Times
What makes my memories of school so positive is how simple it all seemed. That’s exactly how managing your WLAN should be when you have the right tools and resources. Simple, secure, business-class Wi-Fi that just works.

To find out if you have the right networking tools for your business, read the IDC white paper "The Right Tools for the Job: Simplifying Transformation for Midsize Organizations."