You need to plan in advance the design, mode of deployment and management of a wireless network before actually deploying a WLAN. While most of the planning process remains the same in every wireless network you deploy, the specifics may vary with each project you take up. So, here are 5 factors you need to take care of before deploying a WLAN in a particular area –
- Physical parameters of the network
Before deploying a wireless network, first you need to figure out by asking the client what the WLAN will be used for? And then fulfill those specifications. Once the client agrees to the overall network specifications, the next most important thing you need to take care of are the physical parameters of the network. You need to ascertain if other wireless network are present in range of the site, and whether it will interfere with your client’s WLAN or not. Also, the number and kind of wireless access points (AP) required to cover the site. Best practice would be to choose a network area where there’s no interference of any other network. Consider conducting a survey to churn out all the necessary data required to begin with actual setting-up process.
- Design of the AP layout
Next factor to consider is the design of the AP layout in accordance with your client’s Internet routers. Usually in most of the wireless networks, a ‘star’ topology is used i.e. router is in the centre with direct access to all the AP’s. This AP layout is considered the best as even if a failure occurs in one of the APs, the remainder of the network is functional. Other than the ‘star’ topology, the ‘ring’ topology can also be used in appropriate situations.
- Setting up operational parameters
After setting up the APs and the internet router, managing them is fairly easy. Most of the APs can be accessed via web browser to set up operational parameters depending on the network environment. You just need to login to the AP using a default username and pass (and change it later)
- Enabling security protocols
The security of the network depends on the settings of the APs. If no security protocol is enabled then anyone can join the network. Or you can enable a WEP, WPA AND WPA2 protocol in the AP to password protect the network. It majorly depends on the need of the clients, so set the protocol accordingly.
After all of the above is done, the network is monitored for usage by both active and rogue users. Specifically monitoring the approved users provides an indication of whether the WLAN is meeting its design goals in providing usage bandwidth.
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