11 Features Every Secure Wireless Network Should Have
Current technological innovations have turned us towards a strong reliance on our beloved mobile devices. This is an advent we should accept and consider when planning our wireless network designs. In the past, wireless network design involved a large emphasis on coverage, as only a select group of people used and relied on wireless on a regular basis. Today you will be hard pressed to find a regular user who doesn’t rely on wireless every day and commonly on multiple devices.
Therefore, today's secure wireless networks require a different set of features than they did in the past. We’ve designed wireless networks all over the country. Of course every wireless network we design is different depending on the industry, what they want to use their system for, etc. Regardless of all that, there are certain components all secure wireless networks should have.
1) High Capacity Load Balancing
Wireless networks were originally planned for coverage only, but with all the smartphones, tablets, e-readers, etc. out there, today’s wireless networks must be planned for capacity. With the increased demand on the wireless network infrastructure, you must incorporate high capacity load balancing. This means, when one access point is overloaded, this allows the system to actively shift users from one AP to another depending on the capacity that is available.
The growth in popularity of new wireless gadgets has will only continue to grow. Your network needs to have the ability to start small if necessary, but expand in terms of coverage and capacity as needed without having to overhaul or build an entirely new network. Trust me, if you don’t need it now, you will need it later.
3) Centralized Management
Modern day wireless networks are much more complex and may consist of hundreds or even thousands of access points. Therefore, you will require a smarter way of managing all the access points within your network, namely, centralized management. Updates and configuration changes should be made once and the system updates all access points across your network.
4) Role Based Access Control
Role based access control (RBAC) allows you to assign a role to the wireless device based on how it authenticated. Your wireless network system should integrate with the active directory and assign a role based on who they are. Once the role of the device is defined, access control rules can be applied to it. You can segment users into groups to limit what they can access based on their role.
5) Indoor as well as Outdoor coverage options
Although you may only feel you need indoor coverage at first, you will probably later be adding outdoor coverage to parking lots, courtyards, etc. Therefore, in your wireless network system, there needs to be an easy way to add indoor and outdoor coverage all from the same platform.
6) Real Time Wireless Visibility
For all wireless networks, you need to have the ability to see the user in real time, what type of device they are using, what type of coverage shows in that area, and the status of the different networking component s that may affect the use of that device. Your IT staff needs to be able to see what’s going on in order to address any issues.
7) Device Registration (Network Access Control)
Whether you refer to it as mobile device registration or network access control, it is essential to have a secure method for registering devices that you don't own. Primarily, NAC controls the role of the user and enforces policies. Network access control can allow the users to register themselves to the network. You must also be able to enforce policies by checking for things like the latest updates or if they have anti-virus, etc. This will save your IT a lot of headache.
8) Ability to communicate with both 2.4 GHz devices and 5 GHz devices
Baby scanners, blue tooth, microwaves, and many of today’s common use devices can interfere with users on 2.4 GHz devices- simply put it’s a “crowded spectrum”. Since many devices still operate in that spectrum, you’ll need dual radio access points that can manage users on both 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz at the same time.
9) Web Content/Application Filtering
More than ever before, network security must become application aware in order to alleviate application threats. You should have application filtering in place in order to protect users from bad content and prevent performance issues.
10) Mobile Device Management
Think about all those mobile device that will be accessing your wireless network; now think about the thousands of applications you’re going to have running on your wireless network on those mobile devices. You obviously need a way to manage this. Mobile device management can provide control of how you will manage access to applications and programs. You can even remotely wipe the device if it’s lost or stolen.
11) Quality of Service/Application Prioritization
Quality of service simply means that you should be able to determine what uses are most important to you. EMR should take priority over someone streaming Netflix or YouTube.
We’ve designed and installed hundreds of wireless network systems all over the country. If your wireless network is ready for an upgrade, SecurEdge Networks can provide the best planning, deployment and design for your needs. Contact us here if you have any questions or would like a free consultation. You can also download our Free Wireless Design kit for more information. Good luck!