Wireless Networks – Knowing Before Deploying

by Blake Britton, Vice President of Axxys Technologies, Inc.

Over the last couple of years Axxys has invested heavily in becoming a trusted partner for providing wireless network solutions. Wireless access is virtually everywhere. Businesses are offering access to the Internet for their guests, as well as for their employees that covers all working areas of the business facility. A lot of this is due to the increase of the “bring your own device” (BYOD), internal mobile devices, and the need to work anytime from anywhere. While it seems rather easy to provide wireless connectivity, stable and reliable connectivity is a different story.

Here are a few considerations to look at to help drive a reliable and secure wireless implementation:

Assess Before You Address

If your plan is to provide wireless coverage to either multiple, or large, areas within your organization then it is best to start with a Wireless Assessment. The assessment should include an onsite visit with “live” current technology access points (APs) to look at and test the signal strength of each area. While it would appear that all areas of a building a created equal, this is simply not the case. High ceilings, thick walls, metal studs, carpet, and many other factors can determine the strength and accessibility of a wireless signal. A detailed wireless assessment will provide you with a signal strength heat map and the precise location of the APs for your desired coverage areas. A proper assessment takes the guess work out of your implementation and saves you additional time and money by getting the right solutions and ideal installation locations up front. Know before you say Go!

wireless-heat-map

Example: Wireless Heat Map for an automotive dealership looking to add secure WiFi across their outdoor car lot.

What Is Your Expected Density

Before purchasing any APs it is good to understand and “guesstimate” how many wireless devices at a given time will be joining your wireless network. With most wireless technologies there are only a certain number of devices that can be connected to a given AP at any time. It is always best to check the manufacturer specifications of the APs to see the “density” of devices that can be handled per unit. In cases where there are large amounts of wireless activity it may be necessary to have several APs in a given area so that you can load balance across several APs. This will prevent a degradation of connectivity. If the signal strength or AP becomes oversubscribed it is very possible you will lose connectivity. Proper planning will prevent these issues. Know what you need, before you proceed. 

Wireless Access Point Controller

In any environment that has multiple APs it is always recommended to move forward with a solution that can be maintained from a wireless controller system. Essentially, the APs will get all the configuration information needed (guest and production network policies and configurations) from the central controller. The controller makes it easy to maintain the wireless network and to make changes from a central location to all APs in a given environment. Axxys provides solutions that use both premise-based wireless controllers and cloud-based controllers to enable wireless management based on your needs.  Know how to set controls before your network rolls.

There are many other factors to consider when looking to implement a proper wireless network, from security to guest networks to policy management. The key point is to have a plan and to ensure that you provide a stable, reliable, and secure solution. The need for wireless access will only continue to grow as businesses look for additional ways to increase efficiencies and productivity.

Partner with Axxys to implement your wireless the right way. We are invested in your future.