"I know my wireless network isn't cutting it anymore but I'm not sure how to update my design."
This is a thought that many IT managers are probably pretty familiar with. Good Wireless network design is reliable, efficient, secure, high-performing and scalable; all elements you hope are (and in reality need to be) present on your wireless network.
However, designing a wireless network is difficult.
Even if you have some experience or are familiar with some of the basic design principals, there are so many aspects when trying to create an efficient and effective wifi network design, it can be tough to know where and how to start.
With these challenges in mind, here are 3 tactics that we find essential when designing a successful wireless network.
1.) Strategic Planning
Of course, in any project, you must first have a well-laid out plan. In this case, you need to have your goals set out and you must have a good understanding of your environment and your end users. This way your network is created to support those goals and provide those users what they actually need.
Start by talking to your users to find out from them first hand what they expect the wireless network to provide. Detailed feedback will give you a clearer picture of what you’re working with and how best to approach it.
Understand what types of devices you want to support and more importantly how many.
At SecurEdge we always say that "the application drives the infrastructure". All this means is what you're trying to do with wireless, be it using iPads in the classroom or optimizing a specific business process like deploying an EHR system inside of a hospital will help dictated how you will design your wireless network to support those applications.
Suggested Reading: "HOW TO EFFECTIVELY PLAN YOUR NEXT WIRELESS NETWORK DESIGN"
2.) Preforming a Detailed Analysis
You have to first know where you are before you can get to where you want to be. I'm of course referring to testing and analysis. In fact, overlooking this one element can actually make or break your design so it's critical that you get it right.
This usually starts with a site-survey however, while this is a great place to start we also suggest starting with an application performance test.
Application Performance Testing allows you to simulate what actually happens on your network from the perspective of the types of applications and devices connecting to your network.
Now you can not only test your networks capability with the current devices and applications it's supporting but anything new you want to add as well. This can make a huge impact on your wireless network design.
It's always important to mention Validation Testing because your design is only good if it actually works the way you intended it too.
3.) Working With the Right Wireless Service Provider
Choosing the right wireless service provider is no easy task. More often than not, you will come across consultants and less qualified people who will only be focused on selling you products to make money and not because it's what will work best for your network.
A good wireless service provider will provide you with several options based on detailed analysis of what you really need to support your business objectives or goals.
Too many times we see the wrong products being used or the right products being used but they're being deployed incorrectly all because of a poor design and consultants who just want to push product.
Then we have to come in after the fact to do it right because "shockingly" the network wasn't working properly.
There are experienced and valued oriented providers out there who really want to help. They know that your success is their success and they will give you the tools and on-going support you need to achieve your goals.
It's important to compare wireless service providers and to check references. It's not about how many deployments they've done but about how well they did them.
Suggested Reading: "Davidson College Upgrades to Campus Wide Wi-Fi Network"
Designing a wireless network takes a lot of time and resources, so make sure that you’re asking the right questions and getting the most reliable help. At SecurEdge we've helped hundreds of businesses and organizations to successfully design and deploy their wireless networks. If you have any questions or would like to speak to a mobility specialist, simply contact us here, we'd love to see how we can help.