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SMEs suffering wifi woes a target for networking resellers

Netgear has highlighted that although businesses understand the importance of offering decent wifi the vast majority are not in a position to do so

Small and medium businesses are suffering wi-fi issues that have the potential to undermine their customer relationships and deny them the chance to retain and grow their user base.

Despite most small firms recognising that they need to be able to offer customers access to decent wi-fi huge numbers are plagued with problems.

The opportunity for networking resellers to go out and put that right has been identified by Netgear, which has found that 90% of UK SMEs had some sort of problem with wi-fi. Those issues included poor coverage, dropped connections and problems with speed.

But the majority of SMEs quizzed by the networking vendor (82%) viewed it as important to be able to offer a good wi-fi connection, with half needing it for customer retention.

The benefits of providing robust wi-fi are fairly obvious, with people staying longer on site and customers choosing to visit a business because they know they can get reliable connection.

“UK businesses recognise that customers expect a good Wi-Fi connection, and many SMBs rely on Wi-Fi for critical revenue-driving functions,” said Ollie Randall, UK regional director of Netgear.

The vendor is talking up mesh wi-fi as the option for customers to go for, because it solves the connectivity and reliability issues.

For the channel there is plenty to talk about with the increasing number of SME customers that are relying on wi-fi to run a wireless point of sale system as well as providing a 'guest' network for visitors.

Randall said that they way it was promoting mesh technology was not just as an answer to the immediate problems but as a springboard that would provide other benefits that, "not only meets customer needs, but can drive additional revenue through improved customer acquisition and retention".

There was agreement elsewhere in the industry that SME networks did need to be bolstered with Rachel Rothwell, regional d Southern Europe and UK at Zyxel, pointing out that some users had been left behind.

"Many smaller businesses have fallen behind with redundant solutions that are often little more than home Wi-Fi networks, that simply don’t offer business-grade bandwidth or security," she said.

"SMBs that are at a sensitive stage of growth may will suffer greatly if there is an under investment in their network. Their growth will be restricted if it can’t support their processes or ways of working, or if sub-par network security leads to a network outage or data breach. SMBs therefore cannot afford to be restrictive on increasingly important business requirements such as mobility and security and stump their growth potential," she added.

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