Unchain your computing power

Develop a wireless network plan

Here's a riddle for you: What's the difference between a desktop PC and a ball and chain?

Answer: You'll never need to upgrade your ball and chain.

Computers empower today's employees to do things that no individual could have accomplished a generation ago, but desktop technology does tend to chain workers to their desks. Small businesses are discovering that providing employees with mobile computing power increases the value and productivity of IT and the employees themselves. According to a 2006 study by the Computing Technology Industry Association, as well as CDW Corporation's 2007 Business Rearview Mirror survey report, small and midsize businesses (SMB) are making employee mobility a priority.

Innovative businesses employ Wi-Fi technology routinely in operations as wide ranging as sales, warehousing and inventory management, manufacturing and intra-office collaboration. Workers can access their network during meetings away from their desks -- viewing data, taking notes, sending e-mails and doing research right on the spot. Implementing a wireless network can help an organization save money, increase productivity and make information easier to utilize. In fact, Gartner analysts Nick Jones and William Clark say organizations have no other option than to plan and deploy an integrated wireless architecture.

Start with the WLAN

But how do you get there? Consider these factors when planning a wireless LAN (WLAN) for your business:

  • The physical environment: A building's structure significantly affects how wireless waves behave. The walls, floors and other obstacles, including people and space, contribute to signal attenuation. Examine the physical characteristics of the building, including the square footage. This will help determine the number of access points needed.
  • The number of users: There is no gain in productivity if the network lacks adequate bandwidth to handle the traffic, and each user should be allotted at least 5.4 megabytes. Although SMBs typically support fewer than 24 access points, network administrators managing multiple access points need to be able to balance the load. Centrally managed wireless controller appliances can balance the load automatically, boosting performance and saving time.
  • Power requirements: The number of access points determines the needed power requirements. Power injectors offer the greatest amount of flexibility as they can be placed anywhere along the line.
  • Security: Avoid using obsolete protocols for wireless security. Wired Equivalent Privacy is outdated and fails to protect WLANs from determined attackers. Better alternatives include Wi-Fi Protected Access and WPA2. For increased protection, IT departments should configure access points to use the strongest available encryption.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Sven Rasmussen

Network World
Show Comments

Essentials

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

GGG Evaluation Team

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?