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Ariel Lindenfeld
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author avatarit_user163557 (Consultant)
Vendor

Several things come to mind but a few things stand out.
1. The term "future ready" comes to mind. I've seen businesses put
significant money into WiFi only to find some aspects of their networks are
either not compatible with new Wireless IP standards or their
infrastructure incapable of handling the increased bandwidth for the newer
standard. Operating at 2.4GHz is no longer efficient. The newest
standard is 802.11x. The foundation of your network sets the tone for all
that occurs on it. If it needs an upgrade that should be part of any
research and planning. Technology moves quickly, you must be able to move
ahead with it.

2. You need to understand the range of WiFi specifications from 802.11 to
802.11x and everything inbetween as to how it affects your network and how
it will affect your networks future growth.

3. If you aren't the person with the specific networking skills needed find
someone who is. Finding truly talented network engineers can ensure your
WiFi network will be able to handle what comes along for many years down
the road by using generic switches, easily replaced modules and being able
to program or write the code to manage the system. Your network is only as
good as who builds it and you need someone who has the skills, talent and
smarts to implement for the longer term. I've seen these guys operate and
when they do what they accomplish can be called a work of art, or better
yet, state of the art. Your network operates at state of the art levels
because they think that way. You need not hire the most expensive
technical engineers but it pays to hire the best you can.

4. While cost is not the most important factor it still rates high for most
if not all purchasing decisions. I won't get brand specific but quality
matters more than name and while some name brand equipment is fine, you
need not purchase the most expensive access points and switches to
accomplish the job well. Compatibility, ease of use and quality components
that will last are more important in my opinion. Proprietary equipment
which locks you into a certain brand for more expensive repurchase or
replacement parts can quickly blow a budget. Look for good quality, good
performance and compatibility with other equipment. This provides for a lower
total cost of ownership.

5. System management and ease of management is essential to balance the
network and maintain your network without unnecessary overlap or
interference. Good management is an absolute necessity for maintaining user
access and to supplement thorough planning. Good planning really helps
when you have to deploy hundreds if not more access points as a business
expands to accommodate growth and remote users. I was always taught to
look ahead at least 5 years. If you have a network in place or are putting
one in place, you are not done when successful connectivity is
established. It's not a set it up and leave it situation. Maintaining the
network and looking for opportunities to provide services comes with the
territory.

6. Securing the network from rogue users while allowing authorized
personnel and guest user access. This probably comes under plan design and
management but is no less important. Todays world requires enhanced
security by way of WLAN Intrusion Prevention Systems (IPS) and Intrusion
Detection System (IDS) control to contain wireless threats, enforce
security policy compliance, and safeguard information.

7. Computers and peripheral equipment are often overlooked when researching
a WiFi network. It does no good to have a world class network capable of
operating at 5GHz frequency range and you purchase $100,000 worth of cheap
computers or laptops because they were a deal but they will only operate at
2.4 GHz because they have obsolete NIC cards and now you have a huge
bottleneck and significant wasted dollars. The 802.11ac specification
operates only in the 5 GHz frequency range. Cheap systems, printers and
other peripherals generally do not. Do not find yourself in the position
or out of a position because of spending significant money on boat
anchors. I've seen it done.

8. Then I'd look at increasing IP telephony and video-conferencing
capability within the WiFi network for users and clients. Scalability and
ease of expansion should be a no brainer.

Hope this helps answer the question.

author avatarit_user163557 (Consultant)
Vendor

I've found that Juniper networks equipment is more scalable and less
proprietary. Cisco isn't a bad solution but more expensive initially and
for replacement components. Juniper is solid and reliable and some say
better than Cisco because open source software can be used with it. I
deliberately did not recommend a brand and really dislike doing so in a
forum. Makes one look like a sales person with an agenda. WiFi not so
fundamental anymore. More mainstream yes but getting much more complex
with load balancinng, access security and equipment compatibility.
Compatibility is where it's at for scalability. Cisco does not guarantee
their equipment will work with other vendor equipment though at times it
might.

author avatarRizwan Siddiqi (Medialogic)
Reseller

Signal strength

author avatarAnand Shahane
Real User

Performance ease of management with minimal manpower and security in term of WIPS

author avatarNaveen Babu
Real User

Range, brand reliability, support 

author avatarNaveen Babu
Real User

Range, stability, Long Time Evaluation, cost effective 

author avatarD6B8
User

Performance followed then by ease of management. You want to choose the best option that you can afford, for the main goal of getting your users on and off the WiFi and as quickly as possible.

See more Wireless LAN questions »

What is Wireless LAN?

A Wireless LAN (WLAN or W-LAN) is a “Local Area Network” for wireless users, whether in a residence, dedicated business setting or in the nature of a mobile user off-premises. The connection is made through a wireless (radio Wi-Fi) connection. A Wireless LAN’s network links two or more devices using a wireless, a multi-channel delivery method within designated, finite areas such as a café, office building, home, school or any business that makes available to its employees or guests the availability or privilege of connecting to the internet.

Security is top-of- mind, with speed the most requested priority. Wi-Fi networks are usually deployed in an infrastructure node, where a base station will act as a hub or wireless access point hub. Sometimes called a “Hotspot”. Nodes then communicate through the hub, which most usually but not in every instance, has a wired or fiber network connection There may be permanent wireless connections to other nodes and a hard-wired redundant network used as a backup instead of the original primary system. Networks may offer multiple access points, within the same security SSID system. The client software would try to choose the best signal through the strongest access point. IT Central Station users choose Wireless LANs based on criteria such as ease of system management, the best available technical features, monitoring systems, open platforms, user support/vendor updates and reasonable cost. It is essential to detect and minimize any signal strength interference and implement adequate coverage. The IT professional will assess how many Wi-Fi units are needed, where they are placed and the quality and strength of roaming so client devices seamlessly navigate. Bandwidth and scalability need to be balanced with the thought of future needs, and one must take into account the speed of evolving technology to mitigate investments.

Some are of the opinion that Wi-Fi itself is ubiquitous and mainstream, yet becoming problematic because of access security, vital equipment compatibility and bandwidth and load balancing. The software needs to be updateable and brand reputation and longevity becomes an issue when forecasting ahead 5 years+.

Wireless LANs must secure networks from non-credentialed users, yet allow authorized and guest users access. IT Central Station IT professionals are aware that the best available computers and peripheral equipment investments up front are the prudent choice to anticipate IP telephony, growth of bandwidth, video- conferencing and multi-media use that can on some levels grow exponentially. Some users will find large data files presently work better through a legacy Ethernet connection, but this may quickly change and the FCC is now a factor in available resources.

Find out what your peers are saying about Cisco, Ruckus, Aruba Networks and others in Wireless LAN. Updated: July 2020.
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