Because of the increase in data usage as a result of businesses getting online, WiFi has become a very helpful tool in business. WiFi Service Management Platform (WiFi SMP) is a software platform that network administrators use to govern and manage WiFi installations. It enables you to centrally administer various WiFi networks and govern network user behaviors.

A comparison of cloud-based and on-premise WSMP has been ongoing to determine which is superior. Before we compare the two, let us first define the two forms of WiFi.

The cloud is a game-changing innovation in the realm of networks and technology. It offers wireless solutions that are both secure and efficient. A cloud solution offers a simple setup and maximum flexibility. Operating and controlling your database from a single interface is an excellent solution.

On-premise is the more traditional method of managing WiFi services. It enables you to administer WiFi services using your existing infrastructure. It enables you to control your network economically.

Significant distinctions between the two WiFi Service Management approaches should be considered before incorporating them into your company's network management routine. Let's explore them!

Brief Overview of WiFi Infrastructure Options: Cloud-Managed vs. On-Premises

The most significant distinction between on-premises and cloud solutions is the level of control you have over your network. An on-premises solution may be the best option for enterprises that demand extremely detailed control and cannot tolerate even a few hours of downtime per year (such as in financial institutions or healthcare settings).

On the other hand, cloud-based solutions are better suited for enterprises prepared to give up granular control in exchange for the freedom and benefits of not having to operate their networking infrastructure.

The Growing Importance of Reliable and Scalable WiFi Solutions

The need to always be connected is driving the demand for seamless wireless connectivity like never before in today's world. Installing, administering, and protecting a WiFi infrastructure that provides a high-quality end-user experience necessitates significant investment, skill, and resources.

There is the huge dilemma of choosing between cloud-managed and on-premise WiFi systems. However, here we have tried to simplify the decision for you by comparing both solutions. Read along!

Understanding Cloud-Managed WiFi

The concept of a cloud-managed WiFi network may appear ideal for most enterprises since it allows them to retain genuine control over their WiFi equipment and access points while delegating diagnostics, utilisation monitoring, firmware updates, and RF visualisation to the managed services provider. However, there is so much more to understand about cloud-managed WiFi. Let's find out!

Definition and Core Features

A cloud-managed WiFi network requires your business to purchase and maintain all networking equipment on-site, but a cloud-based service provider handles the surveillance of the WiFi network.

This means that a WiFi network is controlled and monitored partially on-premises and partly in the cloud. While the company retains ownership of the on-site equipment, the cloud provider will configure, operate, and monitor access points and connect to all access points across locations via a virtual controller in the cloud.

To help you better understand, here are a few key features of cloud-managed WiFi:

  • Client Isolation: Protect users on public networks by preventing them from seeing or communicating with each other.
  • Whitelist Configuration: Allow access to specific websites or domains without authentication, enhancing user experience while maintaining security.
  • WiFi Channel Configuration: Select the optimal channel for optimal signal strength and minimal interference.
  • TX Power: Adjust transmission power to fine-tune network coverage and balance range with signal quality.
  • SSID Configuration: Customise network names and security settings directly through the cloud interface.

Advantages and Considerations

That being said, cloud-managed WiFi doesn't come without its share of pros and cons. Some key benefits of using these wireless networks are:

  • Simplified Management: Manage your entire network from a single, centralised dashboard accessible from anywhere with an internet connection—no need for on-site hardware or software.
  • Seamless Roaming: Users seamlessly move between access points without interruptions, ensuring a smooth and productive experience.
  • Enhanced Security: Cloud-based management allows for centralised security policies, automatic firmware updates, and real-time monitoring to mitigate threats.
  • Automated Updates: Firmware updates occur automatically, ensuring your network is always running on the latest security patches and performance enhancements.
  • Remote Access and Control: Manage and troubleshoot your network remotely from any device with a web browser, eliminating the need for on-site visits.

Similarly, the cons associated with it are:

  • Dependency: The entire management system operates remotely in the cloud. Any disruption in your internet connection, even momentary, can lead to WiFi downtime, loss of control, and limited functionality.
  • Limited Control: You rely on the cloud provider's interface and features for managing your network. While many configurations are available, customisation options may be less extensive compared to on-premise solutions, potentially restricting advanced management needs.
  • Recurring Costs: Cloud-managed WiFi typically involves subscription fees, adding ongoing costs to your network operating budget.
  • Potential Latency: Managing the network through the cloud might introduce additional latency, especially for real-time applications sensitive to slight delays.

Exploring On-Premises WiFi Solutions

On-premises storage, as opposed to cloud storage, relies on equipment at your company's physical location to manage your data. You will own all of the equipment and be in charge of its lifecycle management. As you might expect, using on-premises data storage systems has various advantages and disadvantages.

Let's dive into on-premise WiFi solutions in detail!

On-Premises Network Architecture

The structural core of wireless networking is WiFi architecture, which defines how devices connect, communicate, and interact inside a wireless network. WiFi architecture comprises various critical components, including access points (APs), wireless clients, and network infrastructure.

Access points act as gateways, connecting devices to the network and delivering and receiving data wirelessly. The architecture also includes the configuration of the network, whether it's a single access point in a home or a complicated enterprise setup with several access points, controllers, and advanced management systems.

WiFi architecture that is properly developed takes into account elements such as coverage, capacity, security, and scalability to provide a stable and efficient wireless network that matches the specific needs of users and applications. This architectural design is critical to allowing smooth wireless connectivity.

Benefits and Challenges of On-Premises WiFi Solutions

The key benefits of on-premise WiFi solutions are:

  • Offline access: Your data isn't dependent on an internet connection, ensuring constant access even during outages.
  • Lower internet costs: Save on internet expenses if your needs don't require a high-speed connection.
  • Enhanced security: Keep sensitive data completely private and protected within your internal network.
  • Hardware control: Customise and upgrade your storage with complete flexibility and avoid reliance on external providers.

However, it also has some cons, including:

  • IT burden: Requires dedicated IT staff to manage servers, adding costs and workload.
  • Compliance headaches: Responsibility for industry regulations falls on you, potentially requiring audits and fines for non-compliance.
  • High maintenance costs: Ongoing expenses for hardware, software, upgrades, and repairs.
  • Large upfront investment: Significant capital is needed for the initial server purchase and installation.
  • Data loss risk: System malfunction or ransomware can lead to permanent data loss.
  • Limited scalability: Expanding storage or capabilities requires complex hardware installs and manpower.

Comparing Key Components

Network Management and Administration

With on-premises solutions, you own and manage every network hardware and software aspect. This gives your IT team unparalleled control over security, configuration, and performance optimisation. You can tailor the network to your specific needs and implement custom security protocols, offering a level of granular control unavailable with cloud-managed options.

Scalability and Flexibility

Adding new access points or expanding coverage becomes a breeze with cloud-managed WiFi. You simply activate new devices through the dashboard, simplifying network growth as your business expands. This adaptability makes cloud solutions ideal for businesses with multiple locations or dynamic traffic patterns.

Security Features and Considerations

Inherent Security Measures in Cloud-Managed Solutions

Cloud providers automatically roll out security patches and updates, ensuring your network stays protected against the latest threats. This proactive approach minimises the risk of vulnerabilities and human error. Additionally, you can implement and enforce consistent security policies across your entire network from a single dashboard.

Security Control in On-Premises Environments

Whereas, with on-premise solutions, the onus of securing your network falls entirely on your shoulders. You need to implement robust security tools, monitor vulnerabilities, and proactively address potential threats. This demands constant vigilance and expertise from your IT team.

Cost Considerations

Cost Structure of Cloud-Managed WiFi

Unlike the shock of hefty upfront costs in on-premises solutions, cloud providers offer transparent subscription plans that bundle software, hardware, and ongoing maintenance into a manageable monthly or annual fee. This fosters budget stability and removes the pressure of large, unexpected financial outlays. Additionally, you might not need to invest in any on-site hardware, as access points are often leased or included in your plan, further reducing the initial financial burden.

Cost of Ownership in On-Premises Solutions

The initial investment can be substantial, demanding hefty upfront outlays for hardware, software, and licenses. This can strain the budget of even well-established businesses, especially for those with sprawling networks or ambitious growth plans.

But here's the catch: while the initial sting is real, the long-term picture can be brighter. Owning your hardware and software can lead to significant cost savings over time, particularly for businesses with predictable network usage. No more monthly fees eating into your bottom line – just the occasional hardware replacement or software update.

Deployment Flexibility

Adapting to Evolving Business Needs in Cloud-Managed Environments

The beauty of the cloud lies in its constant evolution. You don't need to scramble for firmware upgrades or patch security holes – the provider ensures your network sails with the latest features and most robust protections. Thanks to centralised control from anywhere with an internet connection, adjusting settings and configurations becomes simple, allowing for quick adaptation to changing business demands, even across multiple locations/

Customisation and Control in On-Premises Deployments

On-premises WiFi offers a different kind of adaptability for businesses that prioritise absolute control and the freedom to chart their course. You own and manage every aspect of your network, allowing for detailed customisation that fits your specific needs, like a perfectly tailored suit.

You can also implement bespoke security protocols, optimise performance for demanding applications, and adapt configurations to suit your unique workflow.

Integration with Other Technologies

Integration with IoT and Emerging Technologies in Cloud-Managed Solutions

Cloud-based WiFi platforms often operate like vibrant marketplaces, offering open APIs and standardised protocols. Think of them as bustling bazaars where developers and vendors showcase their IoT devices and applications, all readily compatible with your network. This fosters effortless integration and fuels innovation, allowing you to leverage the latest tech without getting bogged down in complex configurations.

Compatibility and Integration Challenges in On-Premises Solutions

With on-premise solutions, ​​you can select specific devices and applications that meet your stringent security and compatibility requirements. This level of control allows you to build a highly secure and customised ecosystem tailored to your unique needs, like a bespoke amusement park designed just for your thrill-seeking business.

Considerations for Choosing Between the Two Models

Scenarios Favoring Cloud-Managed WiFi

You should use a cloud-managed WiFi if:

  • Scalability and Flexibility: You have a rapidly growing workforce, dynamic traffic patterns, or frequent changes in network needs. Cloud-managed solutions allow for easy expansion, adding access points on the fly and adapting to evolving demands.
  • Ease of Management: Your IT resources are limited, and you prioritise a user-friendly interface for network management. Cloud platforms offer centralised control and automatic updates, minimising the need for manual configuration and troubleshooting.
  • Centralised Control: You manage multiple locations and require consistent security policies and network configurations across all sites. Cloud-managed deployments provide centralised control and visibility, simplifying management and ensuring uniformity.

Scenarios Favoring On-Premises WiFi Solutions

Similarly, you should use on-premise WiFi solutions if:

  • Absolute Control and Customisation: You have stringent security requirements and need granular control over every aspect of your network configuration and access. On-premises deployments offer complete ownership and customisation, allowing for bespoke security protocols and network optimisation.
  • Offline Functionality: Uninterrupted network access is critical for your operations, even during internet outages. On-premises solutions ensure continued network functionality, even if the internet connection drops.
  • Existing IT Expertise and Resources: You have a dedicated IT team capable of managing and maintaining on-premises hardware and software. This can be more cost-effective than ongoing cloud subscriptions for businesses with high network utilisation.


Choosing between on-premises and cloud solutions is a major decision – it will have an influence on your company's production and profitability in the immediate and long term. By knowing the differences between these two solutions, you can ensure that you have IT infrastructures that are tailored to your operations and support day-to-day work while keeping expenses under control.

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