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Inherent enterprise WiFi challenges
To achieve optimum productivity, it is today imperative for companies to be equipped with high performance enterprise WiFi. However, with all the advancements in deploying a WiFi network in an enterprise environment, IT professionals still find it challenging at times to implement a solution which will cater for and support a wider range of business applications.
“With the ever growing demand and evolution of WiFi, it can be expected that WiFi nodes, WiFi calling, social media focused free WiFi and a much wider deployment of public WiFi hotspots will become more and more of a reality,” says Kim Greyling, Business Analyst for EES Africa (Pty) Ltd.
EES is an ISO 9001:2008 certified company providing management, engineering and auditing services to a range of industries throughout Africa. It specialises in the integration of multiple system infrastructure including ICT, data centres, audio visual, life safety, security and building automation systems.
Greyling continues: “However, traditional WiFi solutions rarely provide the performance required to drive today’s enterprise applications, to provide users with the flexibility to seamlessly access their mission-critical applications, and keep the enterprise network robust and secure.”
The following items need to be considered in a new deployment:
* Dense AP deployment
Dense AP deployment
“In most common cases of WiFi deployment, the number of users active on the network is greater than the access points (AP). This poses a performance challenge, especially when working with voice applications that require a seamless handoff from AP to AP. If APs are densely deployed, each client has more than a single AP to choose from,” says Greyling.
Any high-density design should determine and document the key functions, which are:
“Once APs are deployed they need to be managed for the sake of efficiency and security. WiFi Controllers centralise the administration and management of the WiFi network. The most commonly deployed WiFi systems are controller-based to meet a variety of enterprise mobility needs.”
The requirements of each enterprise and site may differ, but the following factors, capabilities and requirements should be considered when purchasing any enterprise WiFi Controller:
In a multi-site environment the Controller and management software can be an on-premise deployment or in the Cloud. Multi-site management involves the separation of the wireless local area networks (WLANs), but within the same controller.
This is useful for keeping a single point of contact where all the APs to different sites are configured and managed separately while still belonging to the same controller.
“To overcome this challenge a Service Set Identifier (SSID) needs to be set up,” Greyling advises. “A SSID is a unique ID that consists of 32 characters and is used for naming wireless networks making sure that data is sent to the correct destination.”
Dashboards for visibility
The challenge of WiFi mobility
This handoff process typically takes less than half a second with the scanning phase contributing to the majority of the delay. The client decides when it is time to drop one AP and move to another. It is important to understand that the roam trigger is completely client dependent.
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