Can Your Wireless Network Keep Pace with Millennials’ Expectations?

Millennials use internet-connected devices more frequently and in ways that require more bandwidth than any other generation. Accommodating that usage pattern requires expert network design.

The fact that millennials are always glued to their phones may be a well-known stereotype, but it’s also a well-founded one. According to recent research conducted by Bank of America, 39% of GenY-ers spend more time interacting with their smartphones than they do with their lovers, parents, friends, children, or coworkers. As a result, millennials account for 41% of the total time Americans spend using a smartphone, despite only comprising 29% of the total U.S. population.

Considering that millennials already represent a plurality (34%) of the American workforce and are expected to become a majority by 2020, organizations across industries must adjust their practices to accommodate this rising generation. As Deloitte Consulting principal Gerald Belson points out, “There’s a misperception among executives that millennials will adopt habits of older generations over time, but in fact, the opposite occurs.”

In other words, instead of fading away, Millennials’ “habits” will slowly become the norm. When it comes to digital engagement, this means that internet access points — especially wireless networks — are going to be put under an increasing amount of strain. Not only do millennials use their smartphones more frequently than their older generations, they also tend to use them for more bandwidth-intensive activities. And as advancing networking technology makes this kind of activity possible, user expectations tend to advance with it.

But simply understanding how expectations surrounding wireless networks have changed doesn’t guarantee that your current network will be capable of meeting them. Especially in high-demand environments like schools and workplaces, providing internet connectivity that meets millennials’ expectations requires a properly designed and configured wireless network.

Building a Wireless Network with Millennials in Mind

There are a number of factors to consider before you start optimizing your wireless network for the next generation of internet users.

First, it’s important to monitor the number of devices that regularly connect to your network. Advising that end-users limit their bandwidth-intensive activity is a start, but if each user is connecting multiples devices (smartphones, tablets, laptops, IoT gadgets, etc.) to your network, even low-intensity operations can quickly add up. In short, the more devices that are connected to your network, the more strain your network will experience — and the more connectivity issues you’ll encounter.

Similarly, the location and density of your users can play a substantial role in determining network performance. High-density areas like conference rooms, break rooms, classrooms, and dormitories often require additional access points or an increased bandwidth allowance, but you should also be careful to consider less obvious congregation areas. Do your employees migrate to couches in common spaces toward the end of the workday? Do students regularly take study breaks in the same spot outside the library? Taking these kinds of considerations into account helps prevent a particular subset of end-users from having a negative experience with your network.

That said, it’s equally important to acknowledge the structural limits of your wireless network. Concrete walls, non-connected appliances, public Wi-Fi hotspots, and Bluetooth devices can all interfere with connectivity, but that doesn’t mean you should just throw a bundle of IT resources at the problem. More often than not, more access points and more bandwidth only result in higher-powered network inference.

Soliciting Expert Assistance

Fortunately, with more than four decades of experience and a large team of certified network engineers, Turn-key Technologies, Inc has the expertise necessary to design, install, support, and troubleshoot wireless networks of every size and configuration. From wireless site surveys and network assessments, to network cleanup and security, TTI can help any organization create a wireless network capable of supporting millennials’ expectations.

Our free Wireless Network Assessment Tool can help you determine whether or not your system is capable of maintaining an adequate performance level as demand continues to increase. Simply answer the questions and we’ll send you a detailed report outlining potential issues with your network, as well as solutions that will maximize performance in the short and long term.

By Craig Badrick


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