You prefer wireless connectivity over wired connectivity for your business. That’s great! Next, you need to choose between an enterprise-grade access point and a SOHO access point. That’s a dilemma that many entrepreneurs face and have a hard time resolving it.

In this article, I’ll help them make a decision that they won’t sit back and rue later. Lack of knowledge often plays a role and prevents an entrepreneur from making a correct choice. So, let me briefly describe both SOHO and enterprise Aps for them.

SOHO WLAN access point

A SOHO AP comes in the form of an individual device. It is also called a standalone access point. It requires an individual for configuration. This amounts to two issues; first, the organization needs to employ someone solely for the purpose of looking after the router, and secondly, improper configuration may lead to scores of networking problems.

The benefits of SOHO are ease of installation and simple deployment. But the benefits are overshadowed by two major issues, which are scalability and security. Don’t even think of setting up a SOHO environment if you have more than ten employees in your office because the speed would always be low then.

Almost everyone, who opts for SOHO access points, faces security issues. Those issues stem from management applications having logic errors and faulty authentication. The entrepreneur might find it difficult to do away with the issues. On the other hand, cyber criminals find it easy to exploit them.

Enterprise access points

An enterprise AP comes with features galore. It includes all features that SOHO APs offer such as MAC address filtering and WPA encryption, and even more features that SOHO routers don’t offer. Take the link-,layer filtering for example; this feature is restricted to TCP/IP devices. But if you move to IPv6 enterprise deployment, the SOHO router would be of absolutely no use then.

An enterprise access point provides you with options. Such options are client distribution in case you have more than one access point, top quality service, optimized bandwidth, etc. And even such benefits are only for starters.

The scale of deployment is the biggest advantage that comes with an enterprise AP. The deployment and security architecture being intertwined is almost like an artwork. What makes me say this? An enterprise-grade wireless router comes with centralized management and rogue access point detection. The two features allow for better security, and access point configuration from a centralized platform.

Hasslesome tasks, made easy!

SOHO APs from top vendors

Some entrepreneurs report of purchasing the router from a top vendor and conclude they don’t have to take the toil and patch the hole for security exploits. To me, it’s a lame way for them to console themselves. That’s because a survey done in the recent time of the SOHO wireless router market has revealed more than 70% of Amazon’s top 50 wireless routers have security flaws.

To make it even worse, Amazon has documented the loopholes, making it even easier for an attacker to gain access to the router. Amazon is not alone, other recognized vendors such Cisco and Netgear have also systematically overlooked the fact that a slew of tools are available that allow a physically proximate attacker to compromise the access point.

Hence, a vendor may be a renowned one, but a SOHO access point, coming from him, cannot stop your enterprise data from being stolen.

SOHO is affordable

It is. But affordability in this context refers to the initial costs alone. As I mentioned in the beginning, setting up a SOHO network is fairly easy, inasmuch as you may not even need an IT guy – a prior experience of setting up a home network would be enough for you.

But the problems will begin to surface afterwards. It’s unfortunate that there are no metrics to figure out all the damages that SOHO access point can cause. The only hint that I can give you is to check how much your enterprise data are worth.

Losing data worth $500 implies a total loss of $1000 because you’d have to recreate all the data that you’ve lost. Thus, SOHO APs are affordable only from a shallow angle. A more inclusive and rigorous analysis shows the opposite.

My suggestion

Considering security, features and cost-effectiveness, I recommend an enterprise access point for you. Now if you have a very small company with only three or four employees, you might opt for SOHO APs. But as soon as your business grows in size and scale, move to its enterprise-grade alternative.

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