RETURN TO THE OFFICE: REASSESS, REFINE, REIMAGINE

01

NETWORKING AND CONNECTIVITY

It may seem obvious, but as people return to the office, network demand will change. This needs addressing because the point of connection between a person and their ability to do their job is one of the few technology aspects that is experienced directly by the end user.

Simply put, if you aren’t able to meet the employee’s expectations – particularly when they’ve been used to the performance of their home connection – they will very quickly seek alternatives. So, you need to get it right first time.

FOCUS ON...

YOUR CURRENT CAPABILITY

A return to the office will likely entail fewer people being in the building than previously, but this will be offset by a significant increase in devices per person – as well as bandwidth-hungry and SaaS applications. Can your connectivity cope?


TAKE ACTION

Assess your current capability and map it to what you think you’ll need – then account for the fact that it will almost certainly be more. For example, pre-pandemic, Softcat had c.300 wireless devices connected to the network at any given time, but during lockdown we shipped over 1,000 devices to our people, making connectivity a key focus for us.

WHERE PEOPLE WORK

Where people work when they are in the office may change as you continue to facilitate social distancing principles or more modern work styles, therefore capacity across specific access points may need to differ.


TAKE ACTION

Understand the plans for how your people will physically operate in the office and identify where areas of increased demand may be. Consider your whole network as a sensor and use the data it generates to establish patterns in people’s behaviour and capacity management based on where people are.

THE CONDITION OF THE NETWORK

Because people have been working from home, your existing WAN and LAN networks have been under-utilised for more than 12 months. They may even have been left alone completely as your focus has been on other, more pressing needs.


TAKE ACTION

Just like starting a car after leaving it for 12 months, simply firing it up might not be the best idea. Consider a thorough status assessment of the network before you begin loading more on to it; complete any updates and essential maintenance that needs carrying out; and ensure it can handle the change in demand.

A HYBRID WORKING STYLE

It’s unlikely that your organisation will go back to the way it was; in our view, hybrid working will be the most prevalent way forward. Additionally, changes to underlying compute infrastructure will mean your networks and the connectivity to them need to be managed in a different way.


TAKE ACTION

Providing higher bandwidth capability for users, along with meeting the need to distribute workloads from anywhere at any time, requires a more intelligent management of your network. SD-WAN is a real consideration for this, and, as a maturing technology, is more accessible to a wider range of organisations.

YOUR CURRENT CAPABILITY

A return to the office will likely entail fewer people being in the building than previously, but this will be offset by a significant increase in devices per person – as well as bandwidth-hungry and SaaS applications. Can your connectivity cope?


TAKE ACTION

Assess your current capability and map it to what you think you’ll need – then account for the fact that it will almost certainly be more. For example, pre-pandemic, Softcat had c.300 wireless devices connected to the network at any given time, but during lockdown we shipped over 1,000 devices to our people, making connectivity a key focus for us.

WHERE PEOPLE WORK

Where people work when they are in the office may change as you continue to facilitate social distancing principles or more modern work styles, therefore capacity across specific access points may need to differ.


TAKE ACTION

Understand the plans for how your people will physically operate in the office and identify where areas of increased demand may be. Consider your whole network as a sensor and use the data it generates to establish patterns in people’s behaviour and capacity management based on where people are.

THE CONDITION OF THE NETWORK

Because people have been working from home, your existing WAN and LAN networks have been under-utilised for more than 12 months. They may even have been left alone completely as your focus has been on other, more pressing needs.


TAKE ACTION

Just like starting a car after leaving it for 12 months, simply firing it up might not be the best idea. Consider a thorough status assessment of the network before you begin loading more on to it; complete any updates and essential maintenance that needs carrying out; and ensure it can handle the change in demand.

A HYBRID WORKING STYLE

It’s unlikely that your organisation will go back to the way it was; in our view, hybrid working will be the most prevalent way forward. Additionally, changes to underlying compute infrastructure will mean your networks and the connectivity to them need to be managed in a different way.


TAKE ACTION

Providing higher bandwidth capability for users, along with meeting the need to distribute workloads from anywhere at any time, requires a more intelligent management of your network. SD-WAN is a real consideration for this, and, as a maturing technology, is more accessible to a wider range of organisations.

CONSIDER INVESTING IN…

Access points and WLAN controllers

New technologies such as Wi-Fi 6 deliver greater capacity, faster speeds and lower latency.

Switching

Multigigabit technology improves the connectivity experience by avoiding bottlenecks across your access switches, enabling Wi-Fi 6.

Management

A robust, centralised wireless management will reduce the operational time required to manage connectivity.

SD-WAN

Software-defined WANs use software to intelligently manage the connectivity and services across your network.

ASK US TO HELP YOU IMPROVE YOUR CONNECTIVITY WITH OUR…

Wireless Assessment Service

Evaluate your current wireless connectivity and gauge whether it can meet an increase in demand. Find out more

Network Health Check

Define the strength of your wired network and identify any weaknesses that need addressing. Contact your Softcat Account Manager

SD-WAN Workshops

Discover and understand how to adopt and deploy SD-WAN within your existing network setup. Contact your Softcat Account Manager

Technology Discovery Sessions

Explore the potential of any new technologies and the value they might add to your network. Contact your Softcat Account Manager

READY TO GET STARTED?

Speak to us to learn more about our services and solutions.

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