At least. We’ll analyze 7 key factors you need to consider, including access points, bandwidth, network management, and the next 802.11ac standard.
The mobile trend has come to stay and this means that the number of smartphones and tablets is making its use in corporate networks rise. An increasing number of these devices are just Wi-Fi and this inevitably puts a strain on existing Wi-Fi networks. Companies that are (very) late or thinking about revising their infrastructure, this article was made for you and here are several important points to consider.
Get enterprise-level access points
There is a large disparity between the cost of consumer access points (AP) with business-centric models of leading brands such as Cisco enterprise router, Ubiquiti, Intelbras, Ruckus. Taking this into account, the company often looks at costs and ends up opting for modems and home routers (enterprise router vs home router), which greatly hinders access to the internet and prevents your company and employees from having decent internet and Wi-Fi.
Navigating the search for an office with good Wi-Fi
In fact, even consumer-grade models of high-end routers and modems can overload with only a few dozen simultaneous connections. Finally, noncommercial modems and routers generally do not have advanced capabilities in critical areas such as security, management, load management, remote deployment, and upgrade.
On the other hand, enterprise routers and switches are designed for solid performance 24/7 and dozens of Wi-Fi devices simultaneously. This is a stark contrast to the handful of intermittently accessed Wi-Fi devices typical of a home environment.
2.4GHz and the frequency bands of 5GHz
Currently there are two main frequency bands for 802.11 Wi-Fi networks: 2.4GHz and 5GHz. The greater amount of available bandwidth in the 5 GHz band makes it the preferred choice in business environments, although Wi-Fi clients operating in the 2.4 GHz frequency block have a better bandwidth. Most Business Access Points can operate in both frequency bands, while high-end models can serve Wi-Fi clients in both bands simultaneously. The shorter range of 5GHz allows Access Points to be deployed in closer proximity without overlapping signals and interfering with each other. This, in turn, allows a greater number of them to be deployed.
Note that most Wi-Fi clients still do not work in the 5GHz band. While the iPad 3 and the new iPad will work on a 5GHz network, low-end tablets such as Amazon Fire and Google Pixel will only connect to the 2.4GHz band. Likewise, most smartphones are only 2.4GHz.
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In recognition of unequal support for 5GHz, some access points can be configured to backhaul data over the 5GHz frequency band, serving wireless clients in the 2.4 GHz band. This is particularly useful for enhancing reception without wire in places that wired cabling cannot easily reach. In addition, it is possible to set up a hybrid environment where both 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz radios are simultaneously in use. Devices supporting 5GHz can be directed to connect in this frequency band to reduce congestion in the fuller 2.4 GHz band.
Pay attention to the density of the access points
As described in the previous section, increasing the number of access points could increase the amount of interference being generated, reducing overall responsiveness and speed on the internet. In fact, a large number of randomly deployed access points can reduce the number of devices that a wireless network can support. However, with each worker carrying up to three devices with Wi-Fi (for example, a laptop, a tablet, and a smartphone), IT departments should expect the number of such devices to increase, if not double, with Iot’s, wearables, and similar.
Therefore, careful placement and configuration is required to deploy a high density of access points to properly support a large number of wireless clients. Eunerd specializes in serving small and medium-sized IT infrastructure projects, providing ongoing support as businesses grow and their internet demand grows over time. If you are having difficulties with internet and IT in your company, Eunerd is the right company to call.
Implement security mechanisms
Managing and securing Wi-Fi networks is another aspect that businesses need to consider. Attempting to configure multiple access points individually in a business environment is not only highly inefficient, it is also prone to errors.
As you can imagine, a well-designed management system plays an important role in dealing with more than a handful of access points. In addition, the evolution of the security scenario has increased the importance of the built-in security features. Wi-Fi providers now incorporate security features that, among other things, identify unauthorized networks, defend against spoofing, or block brute-force attacks. In addition, the ability to log important system or security events on a syslog server or console is invaluable, making it possible to identify bottlenecks in wireless networks and security threats.
Another capability that is important for businesses to take is the (SSIDs). An SSID is the name of the network that users see when they connect to a wireless network. Although there are several types of SSIDs, this does not increase the actual capacity of an access point. However, this feature offers a number of important advantages in front of security and management.
Relieving Security Concerns When Bringing Your Business to Wi-Fi Networks
You can configure different levels of security for each SSID. A network for guest users can be designated as an open network, while wireless network cameras can be connected to a network protected by a long static Wi-Fi Protected Access 2 (WPA2) key, while another network can be configured to authenticate via RADIUS and used to serve employee laptops. Depending on the SSID, clients can be routed through different virtual LANs to segregate traffic.
Explore Access Point power options
A less obvious problem with setting up multiple wireless access points is the possibility of having to deploy them in inconvenient locations for maximum coverage. Feeding these access points using Power over Ethernet (PoE) simplifies the problem, while saving companies the cost of putting separate power cable runs for each access point. PoE’s provide power over the same Ethernet cables that power the data to the access points, offering speeds up to 1 Gbps, which is more than the right performance for the fastest commercially available access points.
Companies that do not yet have an on-site PoE infrastructure can easily deploy “PoE midspan” injectors into the server room or closet. Alternatively, PoE-compatible network switches are relatively affordable now and it’s a good choice while keeping server cabinet equipment down counting is a priority. The power supply of access points via PoE also helps in the maintenance front; IT departments can more easily replace standard PoE injectors and switches that fail compared to the need to compete for a specific AC adapter. In the same vein, it is much easier to troubleshoot a single cable than to check the data link and power adapters separately.
Finally, PoE allows the use of standard UPS equipment to power PoE switches or injectors to protect APs against power outages. Obviously, a PoE strategy requires the use of access points with inherent PoE support, a feature typically found only at corporate access points.
Understanding Controller Architecture Options
The need to manage and coordinate multiple access points requires that you use a central controller for anything other than the smaller implementations. Because vendors have built their Wi-Fi solutions around one or two different architectures, the controller architecture is less influential in purchasing than factors such as manageability and interoperability. However, this should not prevent companies from properly understanding the strengths and limitations of each option.
The most common project involves the use of a central appliance to configure and manage multiple access points on the network. There are also vendors that incorporate controller logic into existing network devices such as Peplink’s WAN load balancers that can be used to manage the access points sold by the company. Wi-Fi Xirrus uses a “thin” access point strategy in which each array independently manages all the integrated access points.
Finally, there are cloud-based controllers managed entirely by the Internet, such as those made by Meraki. In an attempt to reap the benefits of a centralized console without having to invest in a controller-based solution, Tanaza has created a cloud-based management solution in which access points that are not in the default cloud are configured online and the changes are automatic. Good architecture options that should be taken into account.
Looking ahead: 802.11ac is not worth waiting for
With the 802.11ac wireless standard already near here, the ability to upgrade to what is broadly termed as “Gigabit Wi-Fi” would obviously be a compelling feature for many businesses.
It is important to remember, however, that it is still in development at this time and is not expected to be completed until next year. In fact, the APs currently being shipped with 802.11ac are essentially uncertified, and client devices that implement 802.11ac are likely to arrive only a few months after the 5GHz standard is rectified.