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How you use wireless

Decisions about wireless networking should be shaped by the way your business works – and by the shape of where you work.


  • If you simply want more freedom of movement round the office, with laptops and a few mobile devices, then a few access points to complement your existing wired connections may be enough.
  • Where employees are using smartphones and tablets as part of their standard communication tools – as well as bringing in their own devices – your Wi-Fi network will need to accommodate high volumes of connections and reconnections as people come and go.
  • Security is a concern if you allow people to bring their own devices. There will be a need to identify specific devices connected to the network, and who they belong to.
  • You may also consider segmenting the network to provide separate guest access for non-corporate devices.
  • Coverage is a critical issue: if people cannot work freely everywhere, then you will lose a lot of the value of your Wi-Fi network. Conference rooms can become particularly congested and require excellent coverage – to avoid an unreliable connection when presenting to a key client.
  • The construction of your premises is a critical factor in the design and specification of your wireless network. Older buildings with lots of rooms can have coverage problems, while some building materials may not be friendly to radio waves.

Security

Wireless networks are by definition more vulnerable to intrusion than networks that need a wired connection. But strong security technologies make Wi-Fi networks as easy to protect as wired networks.

    Options include:

  • Encrypting network traffic using WPA2 or WPA2 Enterprise password protection instead of WEP.
  • Always using a hardware firewall in your router and on all client computers.
  • Ensuring the firmware in all of your devices is kept updated.
  • Making sure your network name is not broadcast, so unauthorised users will not be able to see it.
  • Scheduling broadcast times for your wireless network, so that it doesn’t broadcast outside predefined office hours.