This article is written by Bret DeCelle – Brand Experience Manager at NETGEAR Business

Your Clients Still Need IT Tech

As we are quickly thrust into the new world where social distancing and working from home are the norm, IT professionals are faced with new challenges as they address the needs of an employee base that is now required to work remotely. In order to maintain business continuity and keep supply lines running, the capability to work from home has become increasingly critical for businesses but will place new demands on the IT team. NETGEAR Business has designed solutions that can help keep you and your clients online and working by making installs and maintenance, faster and–in most cases–remote, or at least providing minimal contact time for your IT staff.

Deploying IT Solutions Remotely with Insight

A powerful IT solution for minimizing time on site and configuration time is the NETGEAR Insight Network Management solution. Insight for Wireless Access Points, Switches, and ReadyNAS storage can help in a number of ways. For example, Insight has an easy and fast unassisted setup. Registration of devices is made simple with a QR code or serial number, or auto-detection when plugged into the local network. You can even share the reg code, so a device can be shipped directly to a client, they can plug it into the network, provide you the code, and you’ll be up and configuring the device within minutes. The device will auto-connect to the Internet and Insight cloud, allowing for first-time automatic setup and download of the latest firmware. Once registered and connected, Insight has powerful remote management tools allowing for device reboots, firmware updates, and device configuration, all from a phone or browser.

Deploying Digital Collaboration and Meeting Tools

It almost goes without saying that clients with a remote workforce will need to ensure that they have access to the latest collaboration tools. This includes tools such as Slack, Skype, Zoom and many other office communication efficiency solutions. As an IT professional, you will know your clients best, and you should explore the tools that the team already has available to them which may not be in wide use, and encourage their immediate use. Some of these providers also offer their tools for free, which is a great help for all customers in the current situation. You can also quickly set up new tools on their network and provide training documentation and encouragement. It will help your clients to continue to collaborate and keep up with their workload while also getting a sense that they are in social contact with their co-workers. You remain your customer’s trusted advisor in all situations.  
Deploying Ethernet Ports and Optimize their WiFi traffic.
If you’re trying to improve client’s ability to work from home, you’re going to need to take a hard look at your client’s home network. Do they have enough provisioned speed from their ISP? Do they have a modern router? You can further help them improve their home WiFi situation by removing certain devices off WiFi to clear the airwaves for the devices that absolutely need it, such as tablets and laptops. Most home routers have 1-4 additional ethernet ports. If they are already maximizing these ports by devices like a TV, streaming device, gaming console, printer, or storage, you can easily expand their port count with an Insight managed switch or zero-configure unmanaged Ethernet switch.

Separating Work from Home Internet Traffic

One way to improve overall WiFi security for working from home is to separate the work and home wifi networks. There are several options for separating traffic, including installing additional WiFi access points, or even relegating all non-work devices to a 2.4ghz SSID.  But, some WiFi situations are more challenging than others. In some cases in large homes, or ones with crowded WiFi space, you will need to install more robust solutions. One option, in this case, is the Insight capable Orbi Pro mesh WiFi system. It’s easy enough for most clients to install in their home, and then they can provide you the serial number of the router so that the Orbi Pro can be remotely configured and controlled by your team via Insight. Orbi Pro gives you several options and enhancements over home routers including 4 separate SSID’s, 1x for Management, 1x for employees, 1x for Guest and 1x for 2.4ghz vs 5ghz. This will let you separate traffic effectively and keep their work prioritized and efficient. Orbi Pro also helps your clients untether from their desks and work from almost any room in the house as needed.
It’s Not Just Your Clients at home – Schools Are Impacted Too!
We just got a great tip from a NETGEAR partner. As a very large number of students and faculty have also been asked to social distance, deployments in the education market is on the rise. If you provide IT support for schools and other currently empty facilities, this could be a great opportunity to install new equipment such as NAS Storage, switches and Access points with virtually zero disruption to the workings of these locations. When students are back in school, they will get the best networking experience ever and start learning efficiently again!

Stay Safe and Productive

It is unknown how long this global health situation will continue, but business does not have to stop for many tech workers, including IT VARs and resellers. We hope these tips help you make things easier for your clients and to connect and work from home and stay safe and healthy. Let us know what you think in the comments below.

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