In today’s post-pandemic landscape, small businesses rely on their wireless networks more than ever to meet challenges in their day-to-day operations. That’s why business owners need wireless networking equipment that’s easy enough to configure and monitor without formal IT training, but robust enough to meet demands for security and performance.
This article was produced in cooperation with Aruba Networks
Aruba Networks has designed networking equipment specifically for small offices, retail locations, and schools. Aruba’s Instant On 1930-series switches and Instant On AP22 access points are affordable, easy to deploy, and simple to manage thanks to a GUI application that runs on a laptop or smartphone.
We’ll look at how three types of small offices have adapted to the new normal and show you how the latest small office networking equipment from Aruba is meeting their needs.
Touchless check-in at a small medical practice
Touchless check-in helps medical facilities restructure their in-person experience to accommodate safe social distancing and minimize the spread of infection. It was seeing widespread adoption prior to the pandemic, and now has become a common expectation for patients concerned with clinical safety and hygiene in waiting rooms.
Patients enter health information into a mobile application on a smartphone, which is then transmitted to the system that the healthcare provider uses for electronic health records. Privacy rules under HIPAA require secure Wi-Fi for the transmission of this type of protected health information.
Implementing touchless check-in means that wireless networking equipment must accommodate users who are accessing both the guest networks and secured back-office networks with the same device. For this, healthcare providers turn to wireless access points equipped with the latest WPA3 Wi-Fi security standard.
Aruba Instant On AP22 access points have firmware that automates the switching between two separate SSIDs to simplify the secure transmission of protected health information. In addition to simplifying touchless check-in for patients, this is highly useful for medical personnel who use mobile devices for the collection of health data.
Furthermore, access points operating on the Wi-Fi 6 standard offer several connectivity benefits for healthcare operations. OFDMA enables schedule-based prioritization of Wi-Fi traffic and better throughput in device-dense environments. MU-MIMO technology enables access points to serve a larger number of concurrent clients, which translates into improved support for devices capturing and transmitting health data, and better video functionality during remote patient consultations.
Mobile point-of-sale at restaurants
The pandemic has altered the service industry as many restaurants implemented systems for online ordering and curbside pickup. Restaurants are increasingly turning to mobile point of sale (mPOS) solutions for processing transactions, and integrating those solutions with legacy point of sale systems that handle order management systems and payment card transactions.
Concurrently, the store network provides guest wireless access for customers and employees. Kitchen printers, commercial displays, a surveillance security system, and VOIP telephones are commonly built into a restaurant network as well, plus secure access for computers involved in store operations like accounting, purchasing, and general administrative duties.
Using a combination of Aruba Instant On PoE switches and AP22 access points, store operators can configure and manage mesh access points from a laptop or smartphone out of the box and have reliable, secure mPOS-ready networks up and running in a matter of minutes.
Guests and employees enjoy uninterrupted wireless connections facilitated by a seamless handoff between access points as they move about the premises. Additionally, store managers can easily configure Aruba AP22 access points for a secure blanketed Wi-Fi solution that supports compliant mPOS transactions anywhere in the store. This allows the processing of customer transactions curbside or in outdoor dining areas using the same network infrastructure.
Modernizing a law office network
Professional locations like a law office feature a mixed-device networking environment. The wired LAN supports desktop PCs and shared file storage, with employees accessing assets with a work laptop or mobile device over the wireless network. The network also may accommodate IoT devices for security and building automation, IP phones, as well as video conferencing for remote client consultation or court appearances.
Aruba Instant On Switches address the challenges involved in this type of network. They come in 8- 24- and 48-port configurations to support desktop computers on the office LAN, with PoE capabilities to support IoT devices and IP phones throughout the premises. Security controls can be configured via mobile app to grant employees of the firm multiple levels of secure access to sensitive electronic client information on a wireless network.
Bandwidth prioritization is another useful feature in a law office environment where legal staff is conducting remote consultations. Using the Instant On app, management can set quality of service (QoS) rules to ensure that devices used for video streaming have the bandwidth needed for a smooth, clear call.