Checklist: for a reliable and safe wireless network
The basis for IoT or Enterprise Mobility is a well-functioning wireless network. Just like water, gas and electricity, WiFi has become a necessity for good business operations. Do you have plans to build a wireless infrastructure? Or do you want to expand your existing WiFi network to solve weak spots? Then read on and make use of the checklist we have prepared for you.
Dalosy specialises in the construction and management of wireless networks. In our work, we often see companies focus on the details of a wireless network. However, they would do better to spend a little more time on the basic aspects of a WiFi network which are important for its operation, continuity and future-readiness.
Setting up a wireless network. What does it involve?
One company is not like another. If you are a logistics service provider and you want to be able to work wirelessly throughout your distribution centre, you have different requirements than an airport that wants to offer free WiFi in the departure hall.
Both types of organisation involve a large area where hundreds or thousands of people walk around every day, but the situations are different. In the distribution centre, those people are constantly performing logistics operations with handheld terminals that must connect to a warehouse management software system via WiFi. In the departure hall, those thousands of people have their own mobile phones and laptops with them. They want quick information about their flight. They have their boarding passes on their mobile phones. They’re apprising their home front, wherever they are in the world, to tell them they’re on their way. They check their e-mail. The wireless network has to be able to cope with all this and the coverage has to be optimal.
Although every project is different, there are a number of fixed elements that are necessary for a good implementation. That is why we have made a handy checklist for you. Use our experience and lay a solid foundation by thinking about these elements.
1. Draw up your wishes and requirements for your wireless network
What do you want to use the wireless network for? Is it for data, voice, video, location determination, guest access? Or a combination of these? For each application, the system must meet specific requirements. Make an overview of your goals, requirements and wishes for the WiFi network.
2. Make a plan
To have a well-functioning WiFi network, you need a plan. Although technology is changing rapidly, a good plan will make you better prepared for the future. This solid basis is and remains the best starting point.
To make a plan, first map out the existing network infrastructure. Can you still use it for the new situation or does it need to be replaced, extended or improved? And what about the cabling, switches and other network components: are they suitable for what you want to achieve?
3. Have a site survey carried out
The quality of your WiFi network stands or falls with a thorough site survey. You need an expert to survey the entire location. He or she can determine how many access points you need for good coverage, depending on your situation and location. Equally important is to determine where to put them. It is not a question of the more, the better. If you place too many access points, they could get in each other’s way. The site survey also looks at how they should be mounted. If you place them behind an air conditioner, a cable duct or a steel beam, then you will not have a good result in terms of range and coverage. The expert knows how to tackle this strategically.
The site survey also takes into account interference from other sources. For example, from an alarm system, a camera that sends out a signal or a police speedometer that happens to be set up along the road. These can all interfere with your WiFi. At Dalosy, we produce a detailed report of each site survey. This document can be used for your project plan.
4. Select the correct frequency band
You can use WiFi on the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz frequency bands. The best band to use is determined in part by the volume of traffic in your area. A Dalosy network engineer measures this during the site survey.
If you have a shop in the city centre, then you are surrounded by other businesses which all have WiFi. More channels are available on the 5GHz frequency band which means there is less risk of interference from other WiFi devices. This band is also free of interference from Bluetooth, alarm systems and wireless audio equipment. The 5GHz frequency band does have less range than the standard 2.4 GHz frequency band. The higher frequency is more difficult to reach through walls and ceilings.
5. Think about the security requirements you impose on your WiFi
How is security organised at present? Can it be improved? Then this is a good opportunity to go to the newest standard. Involve the people who manage the IT and/or the business applications. They have often already thought about security. Communication about and during such a project is important anyway.
Various techniques are available for securing your WiFi network. Make sure you are well informed about them. For example, authentication is performed according to a certain standard. You can have this set up in combination with your own company login, for example. Determine in advance what is workable. Which people need access to the various applications? How many people need access to the system? Do many people use your guest network? Then a good discussion about security is certainly not an unnecessary luxury. You can set up security measures in the WiFi and in your own business communications. Multistage authentication via various devices and techniques is also a possibility.
6. Choose the right access points
The access point itself is also available in various versions. There are access points with an internal antenna and access points with an external antenna. The first variant looks nicer. You often see these in shop environments. Devices with an internal antenna can be used in rooms with a maximum height of 3 metres. If the ceiling is higher, a device with an external aerial is often required. The external antenna makes the device more powerful. The environment is decisive for your choice.
Once you have ticked off the checklist, it is time to actually install the WiFi network and start testing it. Do you need help making the right choices? Then why not call in one of our professional network engineers!
At Dalosy we have many years of experience with Enterprise Mobility and wireless networks. We have supported gyms, supermarkets, distribution centres and many other types of organisation from A to Z in setting up or re-deploying a wireless network. From orientation to implementation and management, we arrange everything for you. With Dalosy as your permanent partner, you can respond much quicker to developments. We know your organisation and respond proactively to changes.
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