An indoor wireless local area network (LAN) is a network which operates without the need for cables, instead relying on radio waves and Wi-Fi technology to allow users to connect wherever they happen to be within the building without having to physically plug in. The benefits of wireless indoor LAN networking for businesses are enormous. As well as no longer being constrained by cable lengths or indeed having to deal with the unsightly clutter of cables at all, there is also the advantage that a wireless router doesn’t require cables to be laid, unlike a wired network.
Indoor Wi-Fi is incredibly popular for business users of all sizes owing to its affordability and adaptability. An indoor LAN is also very user-friendly with very little in the way of maintenance or things that can go wrong. The increasing rise of portable wireless devices such as laptop computers, tablets and smartphones is another factor that helps explain the boom in popularity of indoor Wi-Fi as a wireless business communication solution.
It used to be the case that wireless indoor networks were expensive to implement and often unreliable in terms of service and connectivity. A wireless LAN was the last resort in situations where cabling proved prohibitive. Recent technological advances have not only helped to lower costs for the end user but have also dramatically improved the reliability and speed of indoor wireless LAN networks.
What is a Wireless LAN Indoor Wi-Fi Network?
Wi-Fi is so prevalent nowadays that it is easy to take it for granted without realising exactly what it is and how it works. Wi-Fi is a brand name for wireless technology which utilises IEEE 802.11b Direct Sequence radio bandwidths. IEEE stands for the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers and it was this group that was responsible for developing what came to be known as Wi-Fi technology. Devices connect to the network wirelessly via access points which can be distributed through the building to optimise connectivity. These days all kinds of devices can connect to Wi-Fi including laptops, desktop computers, smartphones, and tablets. The larger the premises it is intended to provide network coverage for, the more access points the Wi-Fi infrastructure will require.
As previously mentioned, LAN is an acronym which stands for local area network. LANs have many commercial and residential applications and can be found in schools, offices, homes and other institutions. This is in contrast to a WAN which stands for wide area network and which provides network coverage for a vaster geographical distance. Wireless local area networks have seen a boom in popularity in recent years thanks to both advances of Wi-Fi technology and a huge in increase in affordability. These days most businesses benefit from a wireless LAN Wi-Fi network with such technology absolutely vital to the day-to-day running of many businesses.
The two main types of local area networks are Wi-Fi and Ethernet. Ethernet is a cabled network technology which has some drawbacks and restrictions when compared to Wi-Fi. The most immediately obvious disadvantage of relying on an Ethernet LAN is the necessity of physically cabling into the network. This is not always convenient to do and many devices such as phones would not work on an Ethernet network without some kind of adaptor or other workaround. The other drawback of an Ethernet based local area network is that it can be more costly to install and the wiring can be unsightly and inconvenient within a business premises. It is for these reasons that Wi-Fi technology has largely surpassed Ethernet based networks for businesses.
Wireless Network Security
Wi-Fi is often used to provide wireless Internet access as well as allowing individual devices within a local area network to communicate with one another. In some regards this makes wireless LAN indoor Wi-Fi networks slightly more vulnerable to hackers than traditional wired Ethernet networks. To combat this, Wi-Fi networks utilise encryption technology for purposes of security and privacy with recent advancements ensuring wireless indoor Wi-Fi LANs are more secure than ever. Nowadays Wi-Fi Protected Access or WPA is the security standard for wireless LANs, replacing the old Wired Equivalent Privacy, or WEP. WPA has been demonstrated to be much more reliable and secure when it comes to encrypting network data.
Wireless LAN Wi-Fi Networks for Businesses
The affordability of wireless-networking solutions has made indoor wireless LANs popular with businesses of all types and sizes. The benefits of a wireless indoor LAN for businesses are numerous – it allows staff to share files and communicate via email and the like. It can also be used to facilitate Internet access which is an increasingly important aspect of modern commerce. Business network users require a well designed network that will provide a reliable, fast service for its workforce. The scale and design of the network will vary depending on the size of the business with larger businesses requiring more access points and more involved network operation centre support. There are a diverse range of wireless-networking products available including hardware such as routers. If you are a business owner looking to set up a wireless indoor Wi-Fi network within your business premises it’s a good idea to hire a professional team to design, install and implement a wireless-networking solution specifically for you. If you are a small company with plans to expand then it’s important that your network is scalable and able to accommodate multiphase installations. As businesses often hold sensitive information it’s important that network security is taken into consideration during both the planning and implementation of a wireless LAN.
When designing a new indoor wireless LAN Wi-Fi network it’s important that signal strength is a top priority. There should be no delay or drop outs in signal as users move throughout the building, resulting in users having to log-in again which is inconvenient, time-consuming and can ultimately prove costly over time. The design of your indoor wireless LAN should also take into consideration the layout and structure of the building itself; it should complement the business environment it is serving. An extensive and thorough survey of the premises before implementing a wireless LAN is therefore essential. This involves identifying areas which may suffer from poor performance by walking around the premises with a portable wireless device with software that can log signal strength.
One of the main considerations when it comes to designing an internal wireless LAN is coverage – it is vital that adequate coverage is provided throughout the building or at least within the designated zones where it is intended to be used such as offices and meeting rooms. Another key factor to bear in mind is capacity which refers to the number of users the network is designed to handle at any given time. The larger your business and the more users you intend to have connected, the larger the capacity will have to be. Features of the building such as thick walls can also affect the strength of the signal which in turn can affect connectivity and performance.
Above all, your indoor wireless LAN Wi-Fi network should be secure, especially if it is for a business. Security is an utmost priority but so is flexibility with regard to security. What this means is that security policies for your network should be adaptable to different users and different situations. Another buzzword that gets thrown around a lot when conceiving and planning wireless indoor local area networks is ‘redundancy.’ What this essentially means is that the network is smart enough to automate the bulk of its own maintenance issues which in turn improves performance, reduces downtime and reduces costs.
The design of your wireless LAN will also have to be configured around any existing networks which you may wish to keep in place as well as taking into consideration future demands. Design scalability is crucial here, particularly if you are a small business with plans to expand; in this instance you will need a wireless LAN that can be scaled up to accommodate more users further down the line.
Installing a new indoor wireless LAN Wi-Fi network should be carried out with a minimum of disruption and inconvenience wherever possible. Both users and network engineers within your company will require training to varying degrees on using and managing the new network respectively.
Dealing with capacity and coverage in practical terms involves access points. The correct number of access points and the strategic placement of these around the building will ensure a successful implementation of a wireless LAN. Coming back to the point about redundancy, it’s important that the network is implemented in such a way that the failure of one access point will not disrupt the stability and functionality of the entire network.
Management of a wireless LAN Wi-Fi network is concerned with the day to day running of the network whilst monitoring its performance and traffic and ensuring any issues are swiftly dealt with. Monitoring the network for areas of high traffic is an important aspect of network management whilst also keeping an eye on data levels for individual users. Logging the amount of data each person is using as well as the length of time that they are connected for is another aspect of monitoring and managing your wireless LAN Wi-Fi network. Network security, a vital aspect of planning and implementing a wireless LAN, is also crucial at the management phase.
Again, a redundant design also affects the management of a wireless LAN Wi-Fi network. Intelligent Wi-Fi systems which require a minimum of maintenance, management and monitoring are obviously preferable as they are much less costly in the long run. For example a network which can self-monitor and automatically switch between access points to reduce saturation will be much more effective in terms of speed and performance. A Wi-Fi network configured in such a way will also have a lot less down time which in turn means fewer costly interruptions to productivity.
Network Operation Centre Support
A network operation centre, also known as an NOC and pronounced like the word knock, is a central location for dedicated network support. NOCs are used for all kinds of communication networks, everything from telecommunications and satellite networks to LANs. Network operation centre staff are in charge of overseeing the network to ensure that everything runs smoothly with a minimum of disruption in the event of things like unexpected spikes in traffic and the like. Large business may require more than one network operation centre in different geographical locations to ensure that there are no problems should one NOC become unavailable. Network operation centre support staff carefully monitor networks to tackle any disruptions to service that crop up as quickly as possible.
As well as analysing issues and going through troubleshooting procedures, the network operation centre also has a channel of communication open with site technicians. A NOC will also have procedures set up to avoid disruption to service as much as possible when unexpected problems crop up out of the blue. Network operation centres tend to be organised in a hierarchical manner for optimum efficiency. This means that tricky problems can be escalated to the next level up for a faster remedy when there are technical issues with the wireless Wi-Fi network. The higher tiers of network operation support are comprised of more experienced technical engineers who have the professional expertise to solve any possible network disruption the client may be experiencing.
NOCs usually offer telephone and email based customer support for clients who are having issues with their wireless indoor LAN network. It’s crucial that the network operation centre can be reached at all times during business hours as disruption to service can have a negative impact on communications and productivity within a company. Nowadays we are more reliant than ever on wireless networks and Wi-Fi so it’s important that network operation centre support is swift and efficient to help prevent down-time. Network operation centre engineers are trained to monitor the network and detect faults and they are also involved with hardware configuration, equipment installation, cabling and other technical matters.