Technology

How has Wi-Fi changed construction practices?

Access to the internet has become an essential aspect of everyday life, so much so that in recent years, high-speed internet has actually been legally recognised and classified as a human right.

Over the past couple of decades, there has been a fundamental shift in normal society, with much of our infrastructure being rehomed online, meaning that functioning to capacity would be almost impossible without both computer literacy and reliable access to the web. Not just an adjustment that has been felt in our personal lives, but professionally too, businesses have had to revaluate their practices from the ground up too – including the construction industry.

While in the past internet access was hardwired in much the same way other electrical outputs were, technology has long since evolved. With buildings able to be constructed in much the same way as they always have been in years gone by, with access provided either underfloor or via hollow ceilings, the process of designing and constructing was fairly settled and straightforward.

However, since the arrival, growth and now near-dependency on strong, high-speed Wi-Fi access, having that same approach to constructing for business is no longer fit for purpose, as wires are no longer as central to the infrastructure as they had been previously. With so many offices vast, wide open and open plan areas with multiple high frequency and volume bandwidth users present at all times, the issue has now become how to best serve those needs via commercial networks, routers and extenders – safely and securely – without walls, distance and interference becoming an issue.

In the modern office environment, portability and flexibility are paramount, with many users now laptop and tablet based, rather than traditional desktops. With many of the newest laptops not even featuring the LAN ports required to access a wired internet connection, the only option is reliable wireless coverage. Construction and design have adapted to this change by creating more open working environments, with the likes of booths, cubicles and even individual offices on their way out, so that wireless networks can be more easily accommodated throughout an area, without interruption or breakages in coverage.

Without the use of Wi-Fi, we would return to an age where large reels of wire would be required to spread internet access from a central access point across a wider space, likely with outdated desktop or bulky laptop terminals attached to them at the other end – which sounds massively inconvenient, knowing what we do now.

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