Corporate Wi-Fi Integration, Part 1

By Mike Houghton

August 23, 2004

Inevitably, corporate adoption of Wi-Fi has arrived. But if it were up to the security-minded, you and your NIC would never be parted. Mike Houghton helps admins take the first steps in adding secure wireless access to their trusty wired networks.

Your organization may be starting to feel the wireless itch. Perhaps you're still struggling with the big question: Do we really need this stuff? Is it secure? In this multi-part series we'll take a look at what Wi-Fi technology really has to offer and how it can contribute to your existing wired network.

Do we really need this stuff?

Visions of a community of users riveted to their mobile computers, hard at work wherever they may roam — from the cafeteria to the copy machine and everywhere in between — is enough to bring a tear to your eye, I know. I have a lump in my throat just thinking about it.

Let's look at some examples of why you would want to have the ability to connect wirelessly at your corporate facility:

  1. Your employees will be able roam freely from meeting to meeting, desk to desk, office to office with their network- and internet-connected notebook in hand, thus changing the way in which they do business.
  2. Easy Internet, printer or even access to network resources for visiting customers, vendors and "work from home" employees making their monthly two-hour visit.
  3. Flexibility in desk layout for seasonal staffing or rooms and offices in need of constant re-arranging such as training rooms, cafeterias and auditoriums.
  4. Also, don't underestimate the positive aspects of being able to sit outside on a sunny day and bang out a few spread sheets or catch up on your email while basking in the warm summer sun.
Not to mention the simple fact that it is just flat out cool. Use your imagination!

All of these examples contribute to employee moral, company image, productivity and maintaining technology standards. Security concerns aside (we'll address this later), if these concepts appeal to you then, quite simply, you need this stuff.

But before this vision of impeccable productivity and heavenly efficiency can come to fruition, you will need to spend a little money to make it all happen. This leads me to our next topic...

Page 2: Site Survey

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