Dan was so excited as he showed me through his new facility. He had big dreams for all the great things that would happen in this new space, and he couldn’t wait to experience all the amazing things that were bound to happen in this new facility. As we toured the building, I noticed the metal studs had been framed and the electrical conduit had been run. But what I didn’t see was any low-voltage or networking infrastructure in place. They planned to have WiFi, conference rooms, points of sale, and other networked elements, but they had failed to plan their network in the early phases of the project.
We started a conversation that day about designing and installing the IT infrastructure. Unfortunately, the next time we walked through the building, the drywall had been completed, paint was finished and everything was buttoned up, meaning the cost, effort, and complexity would all be vastly increased for the installation of their WiFi network.
Allow me to share, from an IT perspective, why planning your network in the early stages of construction is a crucial step.
EVERYONE Wants Networking
One of the first things my teenagers do when they walk into a new building is try to find the WiFi network. Whether you’re building an office, a store, a warehouse, or a church, you will want a network. Just like you would plan your bathroom locations, hallway flows, entrances and exits, and fire suppression, you should plan your network to fully cover your facility.
WiFi isn’t Wireless
Wireless networking is a bit of a false promise, which I think contributes to networking being an afterthought. While the access points DO provide a wireless network, they require networking cable to power them and send the proper SSID to your employees and visitors. Furthermore, some networked items like printers, VOIP phones, and IP Cameras work best when hard-wired. Connection speed for computers is faster when wired as well. Running those cables through conduit at the beginning stages of the process is far easier than doing it after the drywall is finished and the paint is dry.
Complete Coverage and Custom Design
Designing a robust network requires forethought. You wouldn’t install a fire suppression system that missed large portions of your building. Likewise, your network needs to be designed in such a way as to completely cover the entirety of your facility. An IT partner can help by learning about your facility and designing the network to best serve your needs. For instance, a warehouse space with metal racks may need more access points for complete coverage. You can also plan for future expansion, office space you want wired for later, and more. Planning ahead is a great way to ensure complete coverage.
Your new facility deserves the absolute best network. Planning ahead and working with an IT partner to design your network is the absolute best way to ensure your costs and energies are spent wisely. In addition an IT partner can work with you after the network is installed to ensure maximum uptime and the most robust network security to protect your organization. Let’s build something awesome together!