With a rise in today’s cultural dependence on social media and demand for instant access to and via the internet, businesses of all sizes are having to re-evaluate their wireless infrastructure and strategy to ensure that they are meeting these demands and expectations; delivering what is seen as a key element of a ‘positive customer experience’ when visiting their business locations. What is now seen as standard when meeting client WiFi expectations? What impact to an existing network would this have and what considerations would a business have to factor in before undertaking a Wireless project? Often location, structural and environmental factors can play a disruptive part when rolling out a successful WiFi networks. What are the most important things to be aware of in these situations?
Let’s find out!
Solid WiFi is no longer a luxury or a service offered to guests only. Everyone expects a high quality and user friendly wireless access to the network. Employees enjoy mobility and increased productivity when able and encouraged to work from whenever they feel comfortable. Good quality WiFi helps with proper collaboration. How good would the WiFi have to be to tick all boxes and what’s important to focus on while considering a wireless new deployment? That depends on the requirements and success criteria. Some networks (most of them actually) require support for voice. Some networks have to support high density or Real Time Location Services (RTLS). All it takes for the wireless network to be categorised as used for voice & video is for users to use voice & video applications on their phones. Skype, Teams, WebEx and even WhatsApp audio and video all fall into that category. Quick roaming and enough capacity to serve employees’ and guests’ needs are more important than ever. Finding a balance between features used to improve network performance and compatibility with all types of devices used becomes an art. Throw in requirements for high density in bigger meeting rooms, auditoriums, theatres, canteens or even entire office spaces or requirements for accurate location tracking using WiFi triangulation, WiFi Hyperlocation or Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) to end up having some serious design decisions to make.
The need for speed
Different requirements will have different impact on the network infrastructure. Wireless network must be secure and fast. Securing corporate WiFi will be completely different to securing a BYOD or guest network. We might need a PKI, NAC, MDM or all three. Additionally, we must answer questions like do we want or need content filtering? Is it important to defend users from malicious content after they leave the office? Do we want to switch and authenticate users traffic locally on remote sites leveraging their local circuits and infrastructure or would we rather tunnel all traffic to a central location? Choosing the right vendor and solution building blocks to meet our requirements while keeping WiFi network user friendly and not overly complex is a challenge. We must also consider Internet pipe size, WAN links, PoE budget, switch ports availability, LAN throughput, basic IP services like DNS and DHCP, existing neighbouring networks, interferers, building structure, local regulations, cabling and aesthetics, just to name a few. Underlying infrastructure is as important as the WiFi overlay.
Lastly and most importantly, we wanted to emphasize the importance of a proper wireless surveys and assessments. RF design and optimal configuration for the environment we design for are key and it is worth saying that you can not mitigate bad design with good configuration or the other way around. Successful solution require proper planning. Failing to plan is planning to fail and we would be delighted to guide you through all the challenges we might encounter throughout entire project life-cycle.
Do not be shy to reach out to us – we are always extremely delighted to help and discuss all things wireless.
With tons of love, Natilik & WiFi Ninjas xReturn to Resources