How Do You Set Up A Wireless Network For Your Business?
If you check out any business today, you'll discover people are using all types of wireless devices. That's because wireless networks are now faster, more reliable and more affordable than they've been in the past.
If you check out any business today, you’ll discover people are using all types of wireless devices. That’s because wireless networks are now faster, more reliable and more affordable than they’ve been in the past.
Wired networks are fast becoming a thing of the past because it’s a lot easier to reconfigure wireless networks than it is to re-route and extend cabling. Plus, the cost of putting in a wireless network is much less than running network cabling throughout your office.
What Kind Of Planning Goes Into A Wireless Assessment?
It’s always best to call in an IT professional to help you set up a wireless system. It’s not as easy as installing a router and putting in a few settings. You can do this at home –but for your business, there are many things to consider.
1. Wireless Site Survey
There’s an exact science when it comes to designing a Wi-Fi network. You want to ensure you have the proper coverage without dead spots. And your wireless network must be protected against unauthorized access.
A wireless site survey, is where your IT provider plans and designs your wireless network to ensure you have the required coverage, data speeds, network capacity, roaming capabilities, security and quality mobile services.
This involves an inspection of your facility and analysis of your floor plan. Your IT provider will also assess your workflow, office configuration, the wireless technologies you’ll be using and how to integrate them with your existing IT infrastructure. Many factors go into planning the layout of your Wi-Fi network.
Your IT professional will need to understand your business’s operational needs. He’ll want to know the following things:
Will you need a guest network for visitors? This is important to keep your confidential digital information private.
How many users who will have access to the network?
How is your current network configured?
How do things like the materials used to build your space present obstacles to coverage? Even things like plumbing can block Wi-Fi signals.
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2. Design A Site Map
The next step is to design a detailed site map that correlates to the information gathered in the site survey.
A wireless network is comprised of:
Wireless clients. These are the devices communicates over the network. (laptops, tablets, computers, printers, smartphones, etc.)
Access points that connect the wireless network to a wired LAN (Local Area Network). These aggregate the radio signals. They are small devices that contain radio transceivers, encryption and communication software, and an Ethernet port to connect a cable to a hub or switch on your wired LAN.)
Your IT provider will determine the optimal hardware and locations for Wi-Fi access points to minimize any interference. You’ll need a plan for connecting your wired LAN to the wireless network. This will probably be located in a central, open space.
The plan will maximize the range of the wireless access points. The typical range is up to 300 feet but could be less due to structural components like water pipes and cables.
You’ll also need the right router for your needs. A tri-band router broadcasts 3 signals simultaneously. Two of them are 5 GHz, and the other is a 2.4 GHz signal. If you use multiple devices that rely heavily on 5 GHz connections (for example to stream high-res videos), you’ll need a tri-band router.
You should work with your IT professional to decide on security measures to keep your data secure. He can use:
Media Access Controls (MACs) to make sure access points prevent unauthorized access by assigning each network card and hardware identification number.
WEP Encryption which is a software algorithm that scrambles data when sent, and unscrambles it when received. This will ensure your data is safe when it’s transmitted.
Virtual Private Network (VPN) security. You’ll want this so your authorized users can access your IT system when they are out of the office. A VPN combined with other security controls will keep your data secure.
Once the site plan is complete and approved, at this point, your IT professional will provide cost quotes on the materials required along with installation costs.
Your IT team will get to work. They will install all of the elements approved in the site plan and configure your wireless devices to work with your network.
They will test the wireless network before it goes live. Link test software is used to determine the amount of data that gets sent, and the time it takes to receive it. They will also test the strength of the signals.
Some adjustments may be required, but once complete, you’ll be up and running!
4. Maintenance and Management
Your IT provider can work with you to establish a procedure for this. For complete network and data security ask about Remote Monitoring and Management and Mobile Device Management. Both are essential for businesses today to ensure your IT is reliable and secure.
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