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!
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 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:
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:
Similarly, the cons associated with it are:
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:
However, it also has some cons, including:
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.
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 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.
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 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.
Scenarios Favoring Cloud-Managed WiFi
You should use a cloud-managed WiFi if:
Scenarios Favoring On-Premises WiFi Solutions
Similarly, you should use on-premise WiFi solutions if:
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.