From the Top

Wi-Fi Complaints: How Will You Manage?

By Christian Hamaker, Editor

Here within the Washington, D.C., Beltway, Wi-Fi is ubiquitous. Offices offer Wi-Fi to employees and visitors who want or need online access, and businesses advertise the availability of Wi-Fi within their establishments.

That availability has become so assumed that Washington, D.C., establishment Bread Furst—hoping to keep customers from buying a cup of coffee and then hogging a table for hours during the restaurant’s busy hours—doesn’t offer Wi-Fi, even though teleworkers still show up. And the Wall Street Journal has picked up on the trend, focusing on Birch Coffee in New York City, which abolished Wi-Fi more than a year ago, in part because customers complained that the Wi-Fi connection was too slow.

But what about people who have a wireless network set up in their homes, where they can access the internet without using up precious data as part of their wireless plans? What happens when they access their home Wi-Fi network and can’t get connected or don’t get the connection speed they expect?

In “Making the Most of Managed Wi-Fi Opportunities,” Masha Zager writes that several analyses of telco trouble tickets show that about half had to do with inhome Wi-Fi performance. The problem is often on the user’s end, but the broadband companies that provide the connection must patiently address complaints when customers call to say they’re having issues with their Wi-Fi. In many cases, customers have old routers that can’t support faster internet speeds or their routers aren’t properly placed or configured.

One proposed solution: managed Wi-Fi service, offering router placement, replacement and servicing as needed, for a monthly fee. Rural broadband providers implementing such an offering are seeing notable reductions in their number of trouble tickets and truck rolls. That’s even more significant given that these managed Wi-Fi offerings so far account for a small (but growing) percentage of their customer base.

As Zager’s article states, customers’ increased reliance on Wi-Fi means they’ll also increasingly rely on Wi-Fi expertise from their broadband provider—and that makes for one more business opportunity for your company. Are you ready to take advantage of it?