Wireless Network Installation (802.11):
Essential Project Plan Items
The long and short of it is that wireless networks are quick, easy to implement, and can be relatively inexpensive. However, when putting a wireless network in place isn’t as simple as opening a box or downloading the correct software. en planning to install a wireless network at your small or mid-sized firm, you’ll need to take several things into consideration first. Otherwise, you risk running into issues later on as your network goes into production. Key project plan milestones to installing a wireless network at your small or midsized firm by Agility Network Services, Inc.
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Wireless Network Standards Review
The first step in installing a wireless network is understanding the standards behind it. The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) is responsible for developing and managing the standards by which most networking products are built. There are several wireless network standards in use today, each with its own strengths and weaknesses. Standards that are commonly used for both small and large networks include 802.11a, 802.11b, 802.11g, and 802.11n. 802.11a operates on the 5GHz frequency band and is used in high-density environments. 802.11b operates on the 2.4GHz frequency band and is used in low-to-medium density environments. 802.11g is a hybrid of 802.11b and 802.11a, operating on both the 2.4GHz and 5GHz frequency bands. 802.11n operates on both the 2.4GHz and 5GHz frequency bands, but offers much faster speeds than 802.11b or g, with speeds reaching 600 Mbps. 802.11ac is the latest standard, operating on the 5GHz band and offering speeds of up to 1 Gbps. All of this is quite technical but it bears noting that the umbrella that these all fit under is IEEE 802.11 Standards.
On-Site Cisco Wireless Survey
Before installing a wireless network, a Cisco field engineer should visit the site to survey the area for any potential challenges. The engineer will bring along a survey tool that can provide a high-level view of the local network. The survey will provide visual representations of the network topology, interference, and RF (radio frequency) noise. This can help determine the best placement for wireless access points, along with any troubleshooting issues that may arise in the future. It’s best to have the survey completed before installing the wireless access points. This will prevent installation challenges and/or challenges associated with re-locating the access points.
Network Hardware Selection of Wireless Access Points
There are several factors to consider when selecting wireless access points. These include AP type, AP throughput, AP operating frequency, range, mount type, power source, AP security type, and mounting location. AP type - Enterprise-grade access points are typically recommended for larger networks. This can include large warehouse networks as well. End-user premises equipment (UE) access points are typically used for small networks, such as those found in retail settings. AP throughput - The throughput of each access point should be rated for the network you’re trying to create. The throughput of access points should at least be rated for the network speed. If the network speed is 100 Mbps, then the minimum throughput for each access point should be 100 Mbps. AP operating frequency - The operating frequency of the access points should match the frequency of the network cabling. For example, if your network cabling is using the 5 GHz frequency, then you should use 5 GHz access points. Range - The range of each access point should be sufficient to cover the desired area. Mount type - The mounting type of the access points should match the mounting type of the network infrastructure. Power source - The power source of the access points should match the source of the network infrastructure. This will help reduce the chance of unwanted interference between the two. AP security type - The security type of the access points should match the security type of the network infrastructure. This will help prevent a security breach between the two. Mounting location - The mounting location of the access points should be in the area where the desired wireless coverage will be.
Wireless Network Topology and Layout
Before installing a wireless network, you’ll also need to think about the network’s topology and layout. The topology of a network refers to the design of the network hardware and other components. The layout refers to the actual physical location of the network hardware. The topology and layout of a network should be planned out before installing the wireless network. This will help to avoid any potential issues associated with retrofitting the network after the fact. Some common network topologies include bus, star, and ring. As for the layout of the network, it should be based on the layout of the building or facility where the network will be installed. This will help to reduce the number of dead spots in the network coverage.
Wireless Network Installation and Configuration
Installation of the wireless network is the next step. You’ll want to install the wireless access points in the location where you want the network coverage to be. This will vary depending on the environment. You might have to get creative to fit the APs into the desired location. The key thing is to make sure that the APs are in the best position possible to provide network coverage. This will allow wireless devices to connect to the network. The last thing you want to do is install the APs in the wrong location. This could result in dead spots or a less-than-ideal network coverage area.
Wireless Network Security Review
Once your wireless network is up and running, it’s important to review the security settings of the network. It’s also a good time to fully document the network’s security settings so that others can understand what is going on with the network. Many wireless networking tools allow you to create an audit trail for your network. This can be incredibly helpful for documenting the network’s security settings. The devices that offer the lowest total cost of ownership generally have security protocol standards built-in and malleable in terms of upgrades to stay secure with any type of wireless network security protocols that may come in the future. This is called ‘future-proofing’ but it really means ‘upgradable for the foreseeable future.’ It will allow you to quickly review the settings of each access point and router on the network. It will also allow you to track any changes made to the network over time. This can help prevent unauthorized changes to the network by other employees or contractors.