WiFi – A recipe for a good deployment
Employing the latest 802.11ac WiFi standards is one contributing factor toward your network security but this alone simply won’t cut it.
Here’s our 10 point list of considerations for selecting the WiFi system that’s made for your environment and your operational requirements:
- Intended usage – Will your office guests require access to internet services or will it be used exclusively for staff? or maybe both ? This needs to be established since most of what follows depends on this choice.
- Security – With intended use established a thorough analysis of the various implementable security models needs to be conducted and the optimal method selected together with a regime to keeping it secure.
- Range – One of the greatest challenges of a good WiFi deployment is locating the access points (AP’s) in places that provide maximum coverage whilst keeping their numbers to a minimum to avoid excessive radiation and maintain costs. Knowing how RF signals propagate is key to getting this balance right.
- Speed – Closely tied with range by way of achieving good signal strength, Achieving good speed performance also depends on having a solid underlying infrastructure – a fruit of good network design.
- Mobility – A robust WiFi implementation involves allowing users to transition across AP’s without even the slightest disruption to service. We call this ‘Zero-Handoff’ and is a prerequisite of each and every deployment.
- Scale-ability – Increasing coverage should never be an afterthought but should be a significant consideration when planning your WiFi network. Good system design will allow for adding AP’s as and when necessary without risking the integrity of the entire system.
- Administration – Like all other ‘Systems’ WiFi too needs its fair share of administration, however, good ones need less – much less in fact, to the extent that administrative intervention is only really required when adjusting security parameters, increasing coverage and troubleshooting and specific issues.
- App usage control – Controlling usage translates into speed performance benefits. Having a Guest user ‘squatting’ on your network downloading the latest movies at the determent of other is hardly considered good use of resources and reflects badly on the enterprise hosting the service. Well-designed WiFi deployments provide adequate content and application filtering to restrict abusive use of the service.
- Aesthetics – We’ve all seen those awe full AP’s suspended under soffits, sitting on desks and hanging on walls but it really doesn’t have to be that way at all! There are some great shapes out there to compliment every designer’s whim. The better ones incorporate other features such as ambient lighting and public address speakers in a single package.
- Cost – Cutting corners to reduce costs will not make a good deployment. Reducing costs should only be the result of good design processes.