Business WiFi is a core part of every modern company’s success. Whether you run a small cafe, multi-location department store, or large office space, your WiFi network improves productivity, communication, marketing efforts, customer satisfaction, and profits.
This guide sheds light on the cost factors associated with business WiFi to help you make informed decisions.
The Variable Costs of Business WiFi
A clear picture of the costs you’ll incur to build a robust WiFi network that serves your company’s needs is essential for budgetary reasons. Let’s take a quick tour of all the costs associated with getting your network up and running:
- Installation expenses include the acquisition of routers, access points, switches, cables, and additional hardware and their setup.
- Monthly subscription fees include the cost of internet connectivity and business WiFi management.
- Maintenance costs include those associated with updating, maintaining, and troubleshooting.
- Security expenses include investing in firewalls, intrusion detection systems, and security audits.
- Replacement costs should also be considered as your WiFi infrastructure malfunctions or becomes outdated.
- Energy usage is another cost associated with business WiFi.
- The costs associated with your WiFi service provider, including licensing and specific features, may extend beyond monthly subscription fees.
Finally, businesses must consider scalability. Your WiFi networking needs to grow and evolve as your business does. Adding new access points and investing in more bandwidth are among the expected costs.
One-Time Costs Vs. Recurring Costs
While planning your business WiFi budget, distinguishing between capital and operational costs — or one-time and recurring costs — gives you a clearer picture. Installation, replacement, and scaling costs are infrequent, but maintenance, security measures, network monitoring, and energy costs should be considered monthly operational expenses.
ROI of Business WiFi: An Overview
Your business WiFi network is an investment like any other, so you’ll want to ensure your WiFi network and infrastructure deliver tangible benefits.
Assessing your projected Return on Investment requires you to define your goals for your WiFi solution, estimate your WiFi network’s role in achieving them, and link the benefits your network can bring you to a concrete monetary value.
Businesses may use their WiFi solutions to:
- Improve customer satisfaction and retention.
- Achieve full Internet of Things integration.
- Leverage business WiFi as a powerful marketing tool.
- Streamline employee communication and collaboration and plan for remote work capabilities.
It’s not easy to quantify all these benefits — but estimates and projections can get your business off to a fantastic start.
The old ROI formulas work when calculating your business WiFi ROI, too. You can use ROI = Net Income / Cost of Investment or ROI = Investment Gain / Investment Base.
However, adding important variables allows you to track your return on investment more easily:
- Consider the time frame over which you’ll assess your ROI because short- and long-term assessments inevitably yield different results.
- Apply discount rates to take the time value of money into consideration.
- Compare your WiFi ROI to competitors’ performance or industry benchmarks to put your results into context.
- Always take potential risks like security breaches and downtime into account.
- The information you acquire, which you might otherwise have had to pay for, can often offset the costs of the WiFi system itself. Over time, this data acquisition can not only justify the investment in WiFi but also result in net savings.
A comprehensive look at the factors that impact your ROI allows you to understand better the role your WiFi solution can play in your future profits.
WiFi Cost-Benefit Analysis
A cost-benefit analysis can help you decide how to move forward as you plan to implement a new practice, invest in hardware or software, or head into a large project. Overhauling your business WiFi solution ticks all these boxes.
Some benefits your business WiFi network can bring you are easily measured monetarily — but that’s not always the case. Business WiFi solutions also offer qualitative advantages that are tricky to measure but essential to your daily operations.
Let’s take a look!
- A fast, reliable, and secure business WiFi network can greatly increase employee productivity by enabling faster access to data, instant communication, and reduced downtime.
- An excellent business WiFi solution paves the way for smart device implementation that leads to significant savings.
- Business WiFi can cut costs associated with traditional wired networks, including maintenance.
- Your WiFi solution enables you to collect invaluable customer data through your guest network, allowing you to develop targeted marketing strategies that make a huge positive impact on your bottom line.
- Data collection also allows you to tailor the customer experience, leading to increased satisfaction, brand loyalty, and retention — and directly influencing your profits.
- A reliable business WiFi network can create more satisfied employees, potentially reducing staff turnover and increasing motivation.
- A flexible and scalable network allows your business to adapt to the changes ahead.
- WiFi analytics open the door to data-driven decision-making.
- Your business WiFi network can help you keep up or stay ahead of the competition.
Monthly WiFi Plans: What to Look For
Because your business WiFi plan will play an ongoing and vital role in all your daily operations, it’s critical to make the right choice. Business WiFi plans are significantly more complex than home WiFi plans — but also infinitely more flexible. Here are some valuable pointers to consider as you plan for the future.
Types of Business WiFi Plans to Consider
Wifi as a Service (WaaS), cloud-based WiFi, and managed WiFi are the most used business WiFi solutions, each with unique pros and cons.
WiFi as a Service offers a subscription approach to business WiFi. This solution stands out in that it includes the hardware you need to run your network, as well as ongoing maintenance and support. WaaS is a supremely attractive option for small and medium-sized enterprises — it’s highly scalable, and you don’t need an IT team to make it work!
Cloud-based WiFi allows businesses of all sizes to take charge of their networks through cloud-based monitoring and configuration. This option offers convenience and scalability while allowing businesses to minimize upfront hardware costs and enjoy a predictable monthly fee.
Managed WiFi solutions are an excellent choice for larger enterprises, but specialized plans for small and medium-sized enterprises also make this option available to smaller businesses. While managed WiFi requires significant hardware investments, these plans allow you to design and customize your network. You’ll also benefit from ongoing and specialized support if you choose managed WiFi.
Factors to Take into Account When Selecting a Business WiFi Plan
Regardless of the type of business WiFi plan you choose, it’s essential to consider speed, data limits, and scalability. Features like round-the-clock tech support and security services can make all the difference in minimizing downtime and guarding your business from threats.
Contract Vs. No-Contract Options
Businesses in the process of choosing the best WiFi solution may consider contract and no-contract options.
Contract business WiFi plans, which often necessitate Service Level Agreements, usually require a commitment of one to three years. They allow for scalability and may include hardware provisions and installation services.
No-contract options imply higher monthly costs and typically require your own infrastructure, but they offer extreme flexibility and scalability.
Budget-Friendly WiFi: How to Save Without Compromising Quality
Ambitious startups and established small businesses can leverage WiFi to take their daily operations and customer experience to the next level — but making the right choice becomes more critical when you’re on a tight budget.
Fortunately, specialized SME WiFi solutions can help you make savings while getting you the coverage you need.
It helps to start by assessing your priorities. How many users will your WiFi network have, which areas deserve priority, and will you rely on smart devices? From there, look at your existing hardware (if any) and determine if it’s fit for purpose. If not, subscription services, hardware leasing, or budget-friendly hardware can help you out.
Once you cover the basics, it’s time to look at vendors that can help you realize your vision. Partnering with a provider specializing in small business WiFi solutions allows you to take advantage of bundles, discounts, and scalable plans.
DIY vs. Managed WiFi
Budget-driven small businesses looking for a robust business WiFi network will try to cut costs wherever they can — including by opting for a DIY approach to network management.
Here, it’s crucial to consider the risks and benefits. DIY network management is a suitable option for businesses backed up by IT staff, and cloud-based options can help small businesses manage their own networks as well. However, the security concerns that may arise from a network managed by unskilled personnel must always be considered.
Managed WiFi is undoubtedly associated with additional costs — but without an IT department, it also helps you minimize risks while maximizing your ROI. Managed WiFi takes a full-service approach that ensures your network remains secure and optimized without your active input at all.
An in-depth understanding of the costs and benefits of your business WiFi plan allows you to make informed decisions that future-proof your business. Business WiFi is the core of any modern company’s success, regardless of size and industry.
This makes a thorough cost-benefit analysis essential — so don’t just question how much your business WiFi plan will cost you, but also how it can transform your profits.