Wireless Technology has evolved significantly since the days of 802.11b and its whopping 11Mbps of throughput. With the 802.11ac Wireless Standard and the latest 802.11ax(WiFi6) Standard, wireless networks are now able to be the primary method of access to a network and for most businesses it is now possible to enable the All Wireless Office. An all wireless office has the potential to save thousands in LAN build-out costs.
A correctly designed wireless network is important. If you do not have an IT staff or your IT staff doesn’t have a qualified Wireless LAN engineer you will need to hire a consultant. Ensure your consultant has experience in deploying enterprise wireless LANs. Many times, in my career I have been called to troubleshoot problems for a client only to discover the client has spent tens of thousands of dollars on a poorly designed wireless network that never worked right and ends up needing redesigned.
A properly designed Wireless LAN must have the following:
- The network should be designed for 5GHz ubiquitous coverage. Avoid using 2.4 GHz whenever possible(there are some exceptions).
- Design for capacity. Coverage planning is not enough. You need to ask what you are doing with the network and how many clients will be on the network?
- Survey, Survey, Survey you must do predictive and active surveys. If you don’t have the software or don’t know how get a consultant.
- Eliminate low data rates – Low data rates kill performance
- Standardize clients as much as possible.
- Always have separate SSIDs and VLANs for Guest and Business traffic
- Always use some sort of Network Access Control for your Wireless network
A properly designed Wireless LAN should do the following:
- In a retail or hospitality setting your Wireless LAN should be promoting your business. Think Facebook Check-ins, advertisements, branded splash pages.
- Keep your employees mobile and make it easier for them to collaborate.
- Enhance user experience regardless if they are a guest or a member of your staff.
Tips for a successful Wireless LAN Implementation:
- Know your users, given a correctly designed Wireless LAN over 80% of issues are related to client devices. Many times when a client has an issue, IT Support is never made aware. By informing your users early on about the installation of a new network and encouraging them to alert technical staff to any questions or issues users will be much more cooperative and receptive to change.
- Identify a few “Power Users” these team member are key to deployment success. These “Power Users” are staff members who are a bit more tech savvy than their peers and can be leveraged for great input about their iPad or PC dropping its connection etc. They are also willing to test out things and give you feedback about things as an updated Wireless Adapter driver.
- Know your client devices and know your applications. In the event you must support a legacy 802.11b device such as a barcode scanner use a separate SSID for them.
- Train your staff – Send out internal newsletters, host training sessions, and/or work with your consultant to get your staff up to speed. Lack of information leads to poor adoption and poor perception of the solution.
- Softphones – When using softphones for Voice make sure your users have a high quality headset.
- WiFi Phones – If these are needed make sure you have adequate coverage. Test with real handsets and active calls while moving throughout the facility.
- Plan for future expansion – get a correctly sized controller (Cloud or On-Premises).
- Put 10-15 ft loops where you plan on installing Access Points to allow them to be moved if necessary.
Wireless LANs have evolved in both performance and security to the point where they can replace the wireless network. Design is important so please seek a qualified consultant and wireless vendor that suites your needs.
I am always available to discuss Wireless Network concerns and needs. Get a free 30 minute consultation. Use the following link to book an appointment with me. https://calendly.com/mogilityphillip
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