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FCW : September 15, 2013
37 CDWG.com | 800.808.4239 STEP 1 IDENTIFY REQUIREMENTS. Defining the needs of the organization's Wi-Fi networks begins with addressing two critical areas: coverage and security. Coverage defines where the wireless network will work and how fast it will operate. Security defines how users will connect to it and what access controls will apply to different types of users. Setting the coverage parameters is not a simple matter, because different wireless uses require different types of coverage. For example, a wireless network that supports Voice over IP (VoIP) will need to cover more of a building space than one designed simply for use in offices and meeting rooms. Another coverage factor is speed. A wireless network designed to perform at speeds equivalent to wired connections will need a different layout of access points (APs) than one designed for more casual use or web-based applications. Security for wireless networks, another hot topic, should be addressed early in the design phase. Although authentication and encryption capabilities of modern wireless equipment make Wi-Fi networks more secure than their wired equivalents, substantial misinformation about the security of wireless networks has made its way around the Internet. Any network manager proposing deployment of a wireless network should be prepared to spend time educating peers and managers about the current status of wireless security. Decisions must also be made about how users will get access and the type of access they will be granted. With wireless networks covering a broad spectrum of use cases, most organizations will want to differentiate user classes --- such as guests, staff and VoIP phones --- and apply broad access controls accordingly. STEP 3 PRODUCT SELECTION. Many technology chiefs express a preference for simplifying acquisition costs and reducing learning curves by working with the vendor of the existing wired network. ere's nothing wrong with this kind of thinking. But there are also good reasons not to merge wireless and wired networks too tightly. Some vendors offer wireless controllers integrated into their wired-switch chassis. is type of tie-in should be avoided because it links any upgrades in either one of the networks to the other, which often increases complexity and causes unnecessary expense. is doesn't mean that an organization must exclude wired vendors when implementing wireless solutions, but it would be wise to select products with the intention of maintaining a clear separation between the wireless and wired infrastructures. With wireless standards continuing to evolve, asking a vendor for a nondisclosure briefing on future products is crucial before making any product selection. ere's nothing worse than buying 200 access points in June only to discover that the vendor will release a replacement AP with better capabilities in September. STEP 2 SITE SURVEY. e site survey plays an important role in the design of a wireless network by identifying the necessary number and placement of APs. An external team with special tools and expertise in wireless deployments often handles this step. Site surveys should be designed around 5-gigahertz APs (the 802.11a band) rather than 2.4GHz (the 802.11b/g band) APs, because the 5GHz devices have a smaller working radius. A site survey should also note any older active 802.11b devices that will not support 802.11g or 802.11n. ese devices can be a significant drag on performance of the network if they are not removed or blocked.
August 30, 2013
September 30, 2013