Computer network
Planning a New Wireless Network
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Being tethered to a desk, cubicle, or conference room is just no fun, and with the advent of wireless networks, no one has to be “siloed” anymore. The newest 802.11n specifications also provide for greater range and security than ever before, so the old worries about hackers discovering vital data from the airwaves are not as prominent.

What IS a concern with wireless networking is coverage, and access point handoff for mobile devices. With any wireless network, you will have some dead spots in a building. Rather than getting upset about it, simply plan for it. Walk through your offices with test equipment from a reputable firm like Air Magnet, locate the dead spots, and make sure that tethered 10/100 Fast Ethernet connections are available in those areas.

A thorough magnetic review of your office space will also help you plan where to place access points, or areas where signals are received and rebroadcast. It is best to purchase newer access points if you have employees who “roam” – like technicians, warehouse workers, or forklift operators. Newer access points have longer ranges and can handoff the signal more quickly to a new access point once your employee travels outside the best range for the first access point. Otherwise, the signal drops and an interruption in service is seen. Advances in predictive technology, similar to that used in read channels for disc drives is applied in newer WiFi equipment.

802.11 as a standard also provides for something called “antenna diversity” – which simply means that several antennas are used and the signal picked up from the best placed one. If you are WiFi-enabling mobile objects such as hospital beds, you have no way of predicting proper antenna placement. Having more than one increases the probability that one of the antennas will have a clear, strong signal. It’s like buying more than one lottery ticket, your odds of winning increase.

Make sure your antennas are placed in locations where they have no nearby EMI sources such as other wiring. Place them correctly so the signal can rise above any metal shielding or other obstacles.

It goes without saying that a solid wired foundation is necessary before building a strong wireless network. Your service provider should be good to his “SLA” or “service-level-agreement” and you should have at least cat 5e cabling connecting your WAN service to the wireless router and access points you have installed. If you need to upgrade your internal wiring or would like expert help in planning your wireless network installation, call professional data installation experts for assistance. The right professionals are more than willing to help plan, design, implement or upgrade a wonderful 802.11x network for your company.

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Mark Doyle
Mark Doyle is a cables/wires specialist and the founder of “The Wires Blog”: