WiFi installer, WiFi integrator, managed service provider: what's the difference?

Sarah Battoue (UK)
23 Jun 2023

WiFi installer, integrator, operator, managed service provider... These are all familiar-sounding words, but they represent distinct roles and entities in a telecoms project. Let's take a look at the missions and skills associated with each of these players, who offer services related to wireless networks but focus on different areas.

A look back at the main phases of a telecoms project

Before getting to the core of the matter, it is essential to understand the main stages in the deployment and life cycle of a WiFi infrastructure. This overview is essential when choosing your service provider - and the associated level of service - to avoid any surprises: 

Think Build Run EN 2023Illustration of Wifirst's as a service model, with project management from A to Z, with no hidden costs.

Having a solid and durable professional telecoms infrastructure is not simply a matter of ordering a box and plugging it in as you would at home. There are key stages, such as auditing and designing the network, that cannot be overlooked. The next thing to consider is whether you want to take advantage of some of the service provider's technical expertise on an à la carte basis and then operate the service directly, or whether you want to outsource network management completely. 

WiFi installer - WiFi integrator: the "à la carte" model

A WiFi installer or integrator is a person or company specialising in the installation and configuration of WiFi networks. Their main objective is to deploy equipment in accordance with a layout plan (existing or to be created). They will install wireless access points, configure routers, optimise network parameters and carry out coverage tests. They may also be involved in optimising network performance and security. WiFi installers or integrators often work in partnership with equipment manufacturers (which can have an impact on the volume of terminals recommended for your installation). Once the installation is complete, they no longer have any role or responsibility for managing the network: they don't operate it. Nor do they have any obligation to deliver results in terms of bandwidth or network lifespan. As far as maintenance is concerned, this will be a new service that will require an additional cost or even an additional contract.   

Norauto Peronne installation AP 3 Norauto Peronne etiquetage wibox

Installing an Access Point                                                                                     Configuration des équipements

  • Main advantage 
    The company retains control of its information system and is not dependent on an external player. It is entirely responsible for its network and everything that passes through it.

  • Main disadvantage 
    Operating the network in-house means dedicating very large teams to a single project, purely for infrastructure... And WiFi as such has no business use. Maintaining and upgrading a professional infrastructure is also a real issue. Operating a large-scale, multi-purpose network infrastructure requires a huge amount of tooling and development. Very few IT Departments are equipped and staffed in this way.


WiFi managed service provider: responsible for delivering the service from A to Z 

As its name suggests, a Managed Service Provider supplies Managed Services. In other words, the IT network is outsourced. The provider takes full responsibility for managing the business wireless network. Firstly, it is responsible for creating the network architecture tailored to the customer's needs, and then for deploying it in accordance with best practice.

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Illustration of a post-deployment network test - WAAS model 

It then assumes full responsibility for service quality throughout the term of the contract, and takes preventive or corrective action where necessary.

supervision_wfirst-4 Capture d’écran 2023-06-20 à 10.16.53

24/7 network supervision and customer support - by Wifirst

Customers can therefore be sure of benefiting from state-of-the-art equipment and service for the long-term management of their WiFi network. It is precisely thanks to this approach that Wifirst has established itself as the leader in professional WiFi. Wifirst offers its customers a complete, tailor-made package including audit, design, deployment of a very high quality network (with full site coverage), connection of sites to the core network, supervision by AI, site maintenance and upgrades. For example, in terms of reconciling flexibility and security, converging infrastructures and services is now necessary to achieve optimum CSR results. As a managed services provider, Wifirst meets the requirements of the CISO (ISO 27001 certification) while offering customers optimum TTM by enabling a new service to be activated on its infrastructures in just a few minutes. Such responsiveness is only possible with an 'as a service' approach.

  • Main advantages
    The benefits of this model are considerable. We could talk about a specialist operator's lead in the supply of terminals, its knowledge of WiFi technology and advances in standards, or the energy and cost savings over the long term... But the real added value is the advice and specialisation that enable IT Departments to concentrate on their "core business" without worrying about WiFi working everywhere and all the time.

  • Main disadvantage
    Customers may feel that they are losing control of their information systems by depending on an external player. That's why it's important to choose your service provider carefully, so that you can work with complete confidence.


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