Internet problems? Who you gonna call?
When it comes to internet and WiFi technology many of us probably feel a bit out of our depth. As a result, when things go wrong with your internet connection it’s not always easy to know who you need to talk to. Sometimes you’ll need your phone company or internet service provider (ISP) to help out. However if they can’t fix your problems, you might find you need a specialist WiFi engineer.
How do you know if you need a WiFi specialist?
If you have a burst pipe you call a plumber. Need your home or office re-wiring? Obviously an electrician.
But who do you talk to about a slow, unreliable, patchy internet connection?
The chances are the first people you’ll call are your ISP or phone company. However problems with your internet connection aren’t always simple to diagnose. You may be stuck on the phone for hours. Or have to have engineers visit. They may even try to sell you additional equipment – maybe a new router or extra signal boosters or extenders. And this still might not fix the issue.
Put simply, if your problems aren’t related to your phone line or broadband equipment, these companies can’t really fix it. This is where a specialist WiFi engineer with specific knowledge of wireless network installation comes in.
(For help on how to diagnose internet vs WiFi problems you can find a simple how to guide here.)
What does a WiFi engineer do?
Phone companies and ISPs deal with getting the internet connection to your home or business premises. A WiFi engineer is an IT professional who can install and trouble-shoot the wireless network that distributes that internet connection around your premises.
It’s a bit like the distinction between a water company and a plumber. The water company delivers the mains water supply to your premises. A plumber lays the pipework to get the water to where you need it – kitchen sink, toilet, washing machine, etc.
One of the most significant factors in poor WiFi connections is signal interference. And because every home or business environment is different there is no one-size-fits-all solution to get around this. The best way to understand the specifics of why certain areas suffer patchy signals is for a specialist engineer to visit the premises and carry out a WiFi survey.
An ISP’s customer service person on the end of a phone, reading a pre-prepared script, really has no hope. This is not a slight on them, but merely a reality of the physics of wireless radio signals. In fact, their employers’ marketing is doing them no favours at all with ‘guaranteed’ WiFi and similar inflated promises. It simply isn’t possible to guarantee levels of WiFi coverage without knowing the ‘lie of the land’ first-hand.
Finding the right WiFi installer may not be as easy as you think
If you need the help of a specialist WiFi engineer or wireless network installer, you may find it’s not that easy to get hold of one. Unlike established fields such as plumbing, electrics or gas, WiFi and networking are still fairly new. Most larger companies will probably have their own IT department to cover it. Or they might outsource to a third party IT support provider. But for smaller business and domestic WiFi users it can be a bit more tricky.
There are also a lot of traditional tradespeople that may dabble in WiFi and networking. Sometimes electricians or TV cable installers will have a go. However WiFi really sits in the IT field, and more specifically, within networking. So it’s important to make sure the WiFi installer you choose is both a specialist and has suitable qualifications and/or experience.
Currently there isn’t a nationwide standard for wireless network installers. Gas fitters have CORGI, electricians have NICIEC, even window fitters have FENSA. However there isn’t an established equivalent for WiFi. Some manufacturers of WiFi equipment have their own specific qualifications. These tend to be the big brand names favoured by larger businesses. But because of this they charge enterprise-level prices which are usually beyond the budgets of SMEs and home users.
Choosing a WiFi engineer
The normal rule of thumb is to get three quotes. However with WiFi being a relatively new and specialist field this may be easier said than done.
The key is to find out:
- What experience or qualifications do they have?
- How long have they worked in this field and what kind of work have they done?
- Are they prepared for you to take up some references from previous customers?
Be prepared to pay a deposit for the work, but make sure that some of the payment is due on completion. This will give you some come-back if you’re not happy with the results.
Need a WiFi engineer in the Bristol and Bath area?
If you’re in Bristol, Bath, Trowbridge, Chippenham, or the surrounding areas we can help!
WiFiGuys is a Bath-based specialist in WiFi trouble-shooting and wireless network planning and installation. We offer a free WiFi survey for local homes and businesses.
Contact us today for friendly, local WiFi advice and solutions.