Corporate Wi-Fi Integration, Part 1 - Page 2

By Mike Houghton

August 23, 2004

Site Survey

Nowadays, most office building construction consists of a lot of metal wall studs and framing. Combine this with the typical office wiring, fluorescent light fixtures, microwave ovens, motors and any other RF generating object, and you have yourself one heck of a hostile environment for 802.11 networking technologies.

Depending on the building's structure, you could have a problem creating a reliable wireless connection from an office only 20 feet away from an Access Point (AP) because of a few metal-framed walls between the AP and the computer.

On the same hand you could have no problem with connectivity to a computer that's 6 offices away that has a direct line of sight to the AP. For this reason the first thing that you will need to do is setup a "site survey".

In short (for exhaustive detail, visit the above link), the survey will need to be performed in the building or area that you would like to cover. Some examples: the main lobby for visitors in a holding pattern; the conference room; come to think of it, the training department can always benefit from some coverage.

A decision will then need to be made as to where the users will function in order to determine the location of the access points. A site survey performed by qualified personnel will help to insure that you have a usable and dependable WLAN, all while being built on a realistic budget.

Some Nuts & Bolts

If you already have a wired network up and running, then the basic hardware for your WLAN will typically consist of the following: a number of access points (or AP's) including a cable run back to the closet and 120v AC to the AP unless you already have the network infrastructure in place to support Power-over-Ethernet.

Also, you'll need Wi-Fi network cards for every single device connecting to the network wirelessly, be they built-in or otherwise, a good wireless encryption application such as Funk and that's about it! You have what you need to get your Wi-Fi network up and running.

Be sure to come back for Part 2 where we examine the evolution of 802.11 and what it means to your enterprise.


WLAN Defined:

Site Survey:

Power over Ethernet:

Odyssey Funk encryption:

Wi-Fi news, discussion and information:

Pages: 1 2

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