Wireless vs hardwiring: Which option is right for you?

Businesses worldwide continue to develop their networking infrastructure. In fact, global information technology spending is expected to reach $3.7 trillion by the conclusion of 2018, according to analysts for Gartner. Much of this amount will likely go toward enterprise connectivity projects. The IT teams handling these initiatives must navigate numerous implementation challenges and weigh critical technical decisions. Of the many issues these groups consider, choosing between wireless and hardwired internet installation is perhaps the most taxing, as both of these methodologies come with unique benefits and drawbacks. cityscape connected by fiber

Evaluating wireless networking infrastructure

Wireless internet connections seem to be, on the surface, ideal for modern enterprise data collection and management workflows. After all, these installations are standard in the consumer realm. In fact, an estimated 65 percent of the adults living in the U.S. are wireless broadband users, according to the Pew Research Center. Wireless deployments are popular among everyday consumers because of their simplicity. Businesses that adopt such installations do so for the same reason, ComputerWeekly reported. Organizations can facilitate campus-wide connectivity via one or more strategically placed routers. This setup is appealing to network administrators who don't want to manage complicated physical infrastructure. However, this is the only clear-cut benefit of adopting enterprise wireless configurations, as the technology comes with several downsides, beginning with speed.

Modern wireless infrastructure is, on paper, capable of facilitating networking speeds of 1,000 megabytes per second, matching the performance of gigabit Ethernet assemblies, Digital Trends reported. However, this performance is only theoretical. Real-world deployments often fail to live up to this potential.

Signal strength is another issue. While wireless setups support convenient management and usage, they offer uneven connection strength. To harness the full strength of such installations, employees must work near routers, which is not always possible. On top of this, ensuring data security for wireless networks can be quite a challenge, according to TechTarget. Enterprises must roll out top-of-the-line encryption tools, along with malware detection solutions. Such systems consume considerable financial and manpower resources, negating the simplicity that comes with wireless networking infrastructure.

Of course, hardware and software providers continue to perfect wireless offerings, meaning these assets may rise to become industry standard in the near future. However, at the moment, enterprise wireless pales in comparison to wired networking fixtures.

Evaluating wired networking infrastructure

Wired networking systems have been in use for decades - and for good reason. This traditional infrastructure offers considerable benefits for businesses of all sizes. First off, wired connections provide optimal speed. For instance, organizations leveraging networking services from Verizon Wireless can expect to maintain wireless speeds of 30 to 45 mbps, depending on the device. On the other hand, those employing wired services can tap into connective speeds as high as 100 Mbps, with the only limitation being the ports into which Ethernet cables connect. Without such device limitations, speeds of 500 mbps are possible. Additionally, if wired companies swap Ethernet cabling for fiber optics, they can achieve even higher networking speeds. This factor alone makes wired networking infrastructure the ideal option for modern organizations with significant data management needs. However, this is only the tip of the iceberg.

Wired networks also facilitate the strongest signal strengths. While some cabling solutions can suffer from attenuation or the gradual deterioration of signal strength, they still far outperform wireless routers whose signal strengths depend upon a variety of factors, including device proximity. Enterprises that put into place fiber optic-based wired networks can avoid attenuation entirely, as these cables are designed to prevent diminished signal strength.

In addition to supporting optimal networking performance, wired infrastructure is easier to defend against hackers than other connectivity solutions, including wireless. Cybercriminals intent on infiltrating wired networks must physically intercept data transmissions by tampering with cabling, a task that is often easier said than done, especially when it involves buried installations. Depending on the type of cable in use, adopters might have to take extra defensive protocols. For instance, copper solutions produce electromagnetic signals that can be intercepted without physical intrusion, according to TechTarget. However, implementing protections to address this issue is far preferable to installing the extensive data security infrastructure needed to properly protect wireless networks.

Finally, wired networking setups are the best option for IT teams that wish to exercise ironclad control over their connective infrastructure. Administrators can police who can and cannot sign on to enterprise networks, which eases both data security and everyday bandwidth management activities.

Wired infrastructure has only one drawback: implementation. Putting these systems into place takes time and considerable resources. Introducing improvements or executing fixes can be difficult as well, requiring manpower and technical expertise. However, businesses can ease the burden of implementation by collaborating with capable solutions partners that can guide installation operations and offer right-sized solutions with minimal demand.

These strengths make wired networking infrastructure the ideal choice for modern enterprises, even in the age of the Internet of Things. Wireless networks certainly have their merits but they are not yet advanced enough to match the performance of traditional wired setups. Organizations interested in bolstering their networking capabilities should, therefore, consider implementing such infrastructure.

LANShack can help enterprises embarking on these efforts. We specialize in pre-terminated fiber optic assemblies designed to support businesses of all sizes, in every industry. Contact us today to learn how we've been helping enterprises stay connected for more than 20 years.