Internet connectivity for small business: Tips for the holidays and beyond
Author: A.J. O'Connell
'Tis the season for holiday sales, pop-up events, street festivals and more. To keep up with all of the festivities, it's more important than ever for a modern small business to stay connected. Whether you're setting up a booth at a fair, dealing with customers who need last-minute items or information, or connecting with employees working remotely from several states away, connectivity is key to staying merry and bright.
Many small businesses are now exploring the benefits of wireless solutions, like fixed wireless access (FWA). FWA can improve your business internet connection in a secure and efficient way, can be installed in minutes, not months, and is even available in hard-to-reach areas.
How does FWA work?
The holidays mean a lot of online shopping and internet traffic, which can slow down your business when you are at your busiest. Where available, FWA can help prevent a holiday hiccup, as it establishes a high-speed wireless connection between your business and a base station connected to a fixed telecom network. A business using FWA will typically be provided with either an antenna or an indoor modem/router.
The base stations transmit wireless signals over a specific frequency to a wireless router, providing internet access and other high-speed data services to your business. This is particularly important if you're bracing for a rush of online holiday business, have areas with slow or no internet connectivity or if you need to quickly set up a secure payment system at a holiday pop-up.
How is wireless internet different from traditional broadband?
The holidays always bring a sense of magic to the air. What about a little magic for your business? FWA can seem like magic if your business struggles with access to reliable, high-speed internet services. Traditional, wired broadband transmits data using wires, like fiber-optic cables, copper telephone lines or power lines. This means a physical connection of some kind must be installed on a customer's premises to connect them to a service provider's network. While you may already be connected to some form of wired network, you may have areas with limited or no connectivity, or perhaps you are located in an area where cable has not been (or cannot be) installed.
The benefits of using FWA for your business
If you are like many small business owners, you may be wary of new technologies, especially going into the all-important holiday season. With limited budgets and limited IT expertise, new technology can feel like a gamble. However, FWA is a great choice for businesses that need high-speed internet and may find traditional broadband inaccessible. Benefits include:
Affordable and reliable
The holidays might be a good time to splurge on some treats for loved ones, but there is no need to break the bank on your internet. On top of that, the busy season is not the time to find out the limits of your connectivity. FWA is "reliable, secure, and affordable" according to Frost & Sullivan, and can be deployed as the primary or only connection, a parallel connection, or a backup connection.1
FWA can be quick and easy to set up, which can be especially beneficial if you want to set up a pop-up location, kiosk or workshop for elves. Rather than waiting for a service call, your employees can connect wirelessly at a new site and be ready to accept mobile payments on a point-of-sale (POS) device and tap into any other services or tools you need to run your business effectively. This doesn't just apply to retailers. For example, construction companies can access FWA connectivity based out of a trailer that can be moved to different locations on-site (or other construction sites entirely) without interrupting service anywhere within the Verizon LTE coverage area.
Staying online in bad weather
As the song reminds us, the weather outside at this time of year can be frightful, so what will that mean for your internet connection? When it comes to extreme weather, wired solutions aren't infallible. If cables are accidentally cut or damaged by weather, subscribers to traditional wired solutions must wait for those cables to be repaired or replaced. This can take hours to weeks, depending on the severity of the damage. That's not an option for grocery stores, pharmacies and many small businesses which need to get online quickly after disasters to help serve the public and maintain business continuity.