Wireless networks reconfigured our world. Meeting rooms, cubicles, hotel rooms and business centers, airports, and even our homes and coffee shops assumed subtle, and sometimes not-so-subtle, physical changes once a wireless network was implemented.
This pattern encouraged end users to develop one particular expectation: wireless everywhere, all the time. For the most part, they got their wish. But the future of wireless scalability and network design in the face of sweeping changes to how offices are designed at this point in the 21st Century promise to present several challenges.
What follows is a look at how office spaces designed in the 1960s are going out of style and why scalability is an important consideration alongside those changing styles.
Wireless scalability within our changing office spaces
When you think of the word “farm,” the likeliest image to enter your head is of a bucolic setting colored by fields of golden wheat, a striking red barn, and a white farmhouse. When you think of the term “cubicle farm,” the image in your head probably changes dramatically … and not for the better. That derogatory term immediately calls to mind workspaces filled with walled desks devoid of character and seemingly lacking in any hope for humanity. Since their rise in the 1960s, cubicles and the cubicle farms they spawned are all many people know of life in the corporate world.
That’s changing. Office space design is in a state of flux. Some people tout the open space approach popularized by Google. Others find it a grotesque overreach of the collaborative spirit. But no one is rushing to the second coming of the cubicle. Conversations about office design today are more likely to include topics such as activity-based working, outdoors office space, agile work environments, coworking spaces, and even play areas (yes, you read that right: play areas).
Wireless scalability and the picnic table of today
Wireless networks must be able to adapt to a variety of possibilities passed down from the C suite or HR. And it’s a safe bet that “word from on high” won’t be to assemble as many associates as possible into as small a space as possible. That’s bad for productivity, it’s bad for morale, and it’s bad for recruiting and retention. In short, it’s bad for business. What’s more likely is a broader footprint, an outdoor setting, “activated” rooftops. In other words, an office that provides employees with more of a choice about their work environment.
This state of flux places a great emphasis on being able to scale a network not only for load but also for length. Many employers have offered a picnic table out back for employees to sit and eat lunch. The difference between then and now? Supervisors might be fine with taking a laptop, rather than a lunch pail, out there.
Tools to build scalable networks
Throwing more access points at the issue won’t always be the answer, thanks to — among other things — packet error probability contributing to throughout capacity issues. Fortunately, careful access point channel assignments are one way to scale the network under different design requirements.
Another potential tool in your belt: effective radio frequency design , which helps deliver reliable wireless service in settings combining “load and length” such as sports venues. Reviewing fairness measures to combat network congestion is also a positive step.
Regardless of the tools you have and how you use them, though, wireless scalability comes with limits. Producing the most effective network means working within these limits to provide the best user experience possible regardless of office space design.
CTC Technologies and your redesigned office
Change isn’t always good. Sometimes change is equal parts aggravation and frustration with a little bit of confusion tossed into the mix for good measure. But it’s the order of the day thanks to evolving ideas about what makes an office design “good:” for owners, for employees, for productivity, and for the future.
If you’re facing an evolution of this sort, CTC Technologies can help. Contact us today for a free consultation about wireless scalability that can evolve along with your office space design. Even if it includes a picnic table or play area.