Must read guide to setting up a small business Wi-Fi network.
Wi-Fi networks have become an essential part of any typical business. It provides employees and visitors
mobility in the modern work\business space more flexibility to stay connected and also increases productivity in the work environment. As most small and mid-sized businaess incorporate Wi-Fi networks a new set of challenges they didn't face before becomes clear: how do they configure a reliable, secure, and cost effective Wireless Network.
We've seen many small and mid-sized companies install home user solutions in their work environments to provide Wi-Fi access, although it solves the immediate need for Wireless communication they soon realized that as the business and connections demands grow the SOHO solution can no longer support the load anymore. Of course, small mom and pop shops could get a way with it but growing business will soon experience unreliability and poor performance.
With that in mind we have decided to create a quick check point list for those small businesses that feel the need of having a more reliable WiFi network and still want to take on the project in house, after all if the needs are basic wifi connection and the physical and technical environments are favorable perhaps installing the Access Points following the "I think it's good" procedure may work for you, even then we strongly recommend the following:
Consider usage: This involves having a ball park idea of how many users will be connected concurrently to the network and the type of applications they'll be suing. The technology you'll use for 30 users uploading and downloading massive amounts of data and broadcasting live entertainment is different than that of 60 users simply using the network web browsing and email communication.
Consider creating multiple SSID and isolate the traffic: Creating multiple SSID sounds good but if you don't separate the traffic you'll be setting yourself for failure. Many access points allow you to create SSIDs and it automatically creates the required rules to stop one network from the other. The point is that traffic should be isolated so your visitors do not gain access to your local resources.
Take it easy with SSIDs: meaning that not only because you can create a many SSIDs per access point you should do that, creating multiple SSID will slow down communication and performance on your wireless network.
Find a Solution with Easy Management: This is specially true if you'll be managing yourself, most reputable WiFi companies offer a cloud management version. We like AeroHive, Cisco Meraki, Fortinet, Sophos, and Aruba solutions as Access Point deployment and provisioning is automatic for the most part. Also, if you already a Firewall Security solution in place such as Sophos, Fortinet, Meraki, SonicWall, etc, you could integrate the WiFi network in the same fabric for simplicity.
Consider PoE: Yes, power is very important. Utilizing 802.11ac or the new 802.11 ax standard will draw more power on the 5 GHz band than 802.11 n. What it means the more devices you have the more power required for the Access Points.
Consider the technical infrastructure: The Wi-Fi network is an extension of your network, keep in mind devices will need IP address, DNS configuration, etc. to work. Make sure your DHCP and DNS server can handle the new load. Also, consider the new traffic you'll be adding to your switches and routers.
Think Security: One of the vulnerabilities of Wi-Fi is its availability. You can't protect the signal that leaves your company, make sure the encryption is strong for all networks, including the Guest network. Implement LDAP authentication when possible, have your Windows Active Directory server control user authentication instead of having a single password for every one in the company.
Place Access Points appropriately: This is where having Wi-Fi network experts comes into place, we do a wireless assessment to find the right location for the Access Points, if you decide to do it yourself try placing the access points up in the ceiling at the center of desired locations. Avoid setting up close to walls, metal units, and any other physical obstacles.
Don't cut corners: We understand that most small and mid-sized businesses have limited budget, that being said you get what you pay for, it's true in technology and anything in life. If you have a cheap WiFi solution that's exactly the type of service you're going to get.
Call the Experts: Wi-Fi for small and mid-sized businesses is what we do. You can definitely take on the project yourself of you can have a professional WiFi support company take care of it. We're located in Northern NJ provide services there and NYC.
We know WiFi network, we have deploying WiFi network solutions for Small and Medium sized businesses in organizations for the past 15 years. Based out of Secaucus, NJ We provide WiFi and IT support in Northern NJ and NYC. Contact us for more details at info@jdtechsolutions | 888-580-4450 | www.jdtechsolutions.net.