When to use Wi-Fi or a Wired LAN for your digital signage  

When it comes to choosing between running your digital signage connectivity over Wi-Fi or a  wired LAN connection, there is no clear winner. Both types of internet connectivity provide their own set of benefits. It is up to you to understand the advantages of both options and make an informed decision based on your individual needs.

Keep reading to learn more about what factors you need to consider and get help choosing the best digital signage connectivity solution for you and your business.

The Size of your Digital Signage Network

If you run a small medical practice and have a couple of digital displays located in the waiting room to help entertain and inform patients, then you probably don’t have to worry too much about connectivity. Wi-Fi should be enough to provide reliable performance to support your needs.

However, if you are running an extensive network that includes dozens or even hundreds of digital signs, then you will want to opt for a wired LAN connection. Wi-Fi signals become weaker as more devices log onto the network. Putting that kind of load on a Wi-Fi network will cause problems with reliability. With wired LAN, your server will be located within your building and able to send a strong and consistent signal to all your devices.

Will Interference be an issue?

When thinking about whether Wi-Fi or wired LAN is the right choice for your digital signage connectivity, it is also important to consider the potential for interference to weaken your signal. With Wi-Fi, you have to be concerned with how many of your own devices will be connected to the internet and how many other internet-enabled devices will affect the signal. The presence of smartphones, tablets and even smartwatches can interfere with the network.

Using a wired connection will avoid this problem and prevent devices that aren’t connected to the network from interfering with performance.

The Type of Content you will be Displaying

Some businesses use their digital signage to display videos and other content that can be used over a long period of time. Perhaps their audience is constantly changing, so they don’t have to worry about their target customers seeing the same content twice.

Other businesses use their signs to display real-time information, such as weather updates, traffic, and KPI dashboards. This type of information needs to be constantly updated, which can put more demand on the connectivity.

For more dynamic content that requires ongoing uploads, a wired connection will provide a more reliable option. A Wi-Fi connection may not be able to offer the same speed, which can result in blank or frozen screens. To provide reliable performance for information that’s constantly changing, and to get the best ROI on your digital signage, consider investing in wired LAN.

Do you have Security Concerns?

As hackers become more adept at breaching security, businesses are tasked with taking additional measures to protect sensitive data. Fortunately, both Wi-Fi and wired LAN networks come with security protections that make it difficult for unauthorized users to access the network. However, Wi-Fi connections are typically protected using a one-step authorization, such as a password. For professionals, this doesn’t create much of a barrier to hopping on the network.

With wired LAN, you have more control over who accesses the network. Only devices within the network can access the internet and administrators have the power to assign and revoke user access. Businesses can further fortify their security with additional password protections and other authorization protocols.

In most cases, Wi-Fi offers ample security, but it is important to understand that any computer or device will be able to access your network. If you want to step up security and maintain more control over who can access, then a wired LAN connection is the right choice for you.

What is your Budget?

One of the big advantages of using Wi-Fi for your digital signage connectivity is cost. Setting up an account with a local provider and putting your devices online is relatively inexpensive. If you won’t be putting major demands on the network, then Wi-Fi is the most cost-effective option.

Creating and installing your own LAN will require purchasing equipment and enlisting the help of experts who can set up the hardware and customize the software. This type of undertaking might be beyond the budget of some businesses. Choosing the right type of connectivity means weighing the cost versus performance requirements.

Do you have a Dedicated IT Team?

Using Wi-Fi to support your digital signage connectivity also means that you can rely on your provider for technical support. If something goes wrong, they are responsible for quickly addressing the issue and making any necessary repairs. For small businesses that don’t have a dedicated IT team to tackle in-house technical issues, this type of service can be a welcomed convenience.

Because your LAN will be located in-house and operated on hardware that you own, you will be responsible for troubleshooting problems and maintaining and replacing hardware. That means that you will need to have a reliable outside contractor who you can call during emergencies or a dedicated IT team located in-house. Without the right support team, an internet outage can end up costing you business.

If you don’t already have an IT department, you will need to take this extra expense into account when deciding whether you want to opt for a LAN.

*****

Both Wi-Fi and wired LAN offer distinct advantages when it comes to providing digital signage connectivity. In general, Wi-Fi will be the better choice for small businesses who are only using a few digital signs. The larger your network and the more dynamic content you want to display, the more a wired LAN connection will be the right choice for you. Just keep in mind that running and maintaining a LAN comes with additional costs that might not be within your budget. Be sure to consider all the factors mentioned above when trying to find the right balance between cost and performance and you can find the best connectivity solution to get the most out of your digital signage network.

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