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Issues surrounding wireless LANs

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There are many challenges faced by organisations when choosing a wireless LAN (WLAN) setup, while many corporates are reluctant to entrust their sensitive information to WLANs, mainly because of concerns surrounding the security of their data protection, user authentication and unauthorised intrusions.

Added to this is the often contradictory information about the rapidly developing WLAN market segment; a market that is flooded by products and differing WLAN technologies, along with architecture such as ‘fat’ and ‘thin’ access points.
Another point of concern is navigating the confusing marketplace of numerous vendors, many of whom are not supported by trusted brands, offering warranties and full back-up services.
Lorna Hardie, business unit manager for ProCurve Networking by HP, believes that most corporates are not well informed about their WLANS set-ups.
“WLANs have, for the most part, not operated in union with wired networks, and corporates have been left to their own devices as they often purchase a WLAN and a wired LAN, as two separate ‘tracks’, even though they can and should work in tandem with each other," she says.
With the continuing trend towards mobile workforces, an increasing number of organisations are beginning to rely on their WLANs even though they have wired LANs, and are starting to be more particular about security, ease of deployment, session persistence, quality of service and most importantly, ease of management.
One of the solution to these challenges would be a product that offers a comprehensive family of wireless offerings, with solutions for both standalone and coordinated access points – under a framework that is designed to best meet network infrastructure needs both today and in the future. These will push intelligence to the edge of the network, where users connect.
“Today’s organisations need an approach to network infrastructure that can significantly boost their ability to compete effectively in the face of rapid change. These networks need to be adaptive to users, applications and organizations, fortifying security, increasing productivity and reducing complexity across the organisation," Hardie adds.
It is important to ensure that all organisation’s needs are securely met by a series of mobility offerings that unify wired and wireless networking in ways not previously possible.
This holistic approach would enable an organisation to manage all its mobility options consistently with one another, as well as with wired network solutions. Most companies need secured access control, which will make it easier to deploy and centrally manage a secure, yet flexible, multi-service network that can lead to better return on IT investment.
“Open standards, strengthened by industry-leading warranties and robust service and support, allow organisations to adapt easily to changing needs, and incorporate future applications – such as VoWLAN – into the same infrastructure.  Integrating the wired LAN with a WLAN needn’t be a mammoth and costly task. Combining both networks should be a ‘plug-and-play’ affair, with simple installation, deployment and scalability," concludes Hardie.