There are many ways to get added value out of your wireless network, below are some of the tips and tricks to get even more out of yours.
Roaming – While many smaller businesses will likely get away with only one access point, many larger sized work areas will require several in order to provide adequate wireless coverage. Back in the day (at least several years ago), it was tricky to configure your network for roaming (that is, where a device can register with a new access point as it moves around without any loss of network connectivity). Many of the latest wireless access technologies now operate in a ‘mesh’, meaning that the access points constantly communicate with one another.This can allow for devices to roam from one access point to another with no loss of connectivity. So you can take your device from your desk to the kitchen then to the meeting room on the other side of the building without losing your network connection.
Authentication options galore – We now have so many ways of connecting to a wireless network that can be more secure and convenient. Want to use your network username and password? Sure, don’t worry about ‘secret keys’ or pin codes. Perhaps your organisation has stricter security requirements. You can use more complex methods such as user or device certificates to authenticate access to a wireless network. By adding these
Location Analytics – Many of the management systems of modern wireless networks allow you to place the access points on a virtual map of your office space within their management portals. Besides being a nice visual reference in case you forget where they are, it can provide a way to analyse traffic patterns. In retail environments, this data can even be used to track the dwell-time and location on the floor space of particular devices. This can be useful in assisting a store in placing its marketing messages for example.
Automatic Radio Optimisation – This is one of those “it might not be that exciting but I’m really glad it does that” features. As you may know, a business environment can often be filled with all kinds of wireless ‘noise’. From mobile phones and laptops to printers, wireless displays and even access points from neighbouring locations. If your wireless signal is operating on the same channel as some of these other broadcasts, you can experience poor performance and possibly even complete network dropouts quite often. Fortunately, modern devices can constantly track the noise in their environment and adjust the radio frequency settings for optimal performance, automatically. You don’t have to worry about it. Additionally, they can also shut down ‘rogue’ access points. These are access points that appear on your network but are not in the list of managed devices (e.g. someone has brought in their own wireless router and plugged it into the office network). The constant scanning and adjusting of the wireless radio in a modern device can identify these unauthorised access points and contain it, preventing clients from connecting to it and potentially leaking sensitive data over an unsecured connection.
When you think about it, it’s amazing what a wireless network can do but this also raises a number points that should be considered when installing one. We can help with that. Let us know what you want to achieve with your wireless aspirations and we can provide you with the knowledge, technology and support to meet them. If you’re looking for consultancy services to help design your own IT business processes, contact Starboard IT to find out what we can do for you.