How can we set up wireless access at our office for mobile devices?
Posted by , Last modified by on 27 August 2013 12:30 PM
As the ubiquity of wireless devices such as laptops, tablets and mobile phones continues to increase, more and more small business offices are finding value in creating a wireless network that allows such mobile devices access to the company network and the Internet. This article contains information about what to consider when planning your wireless network, such as hardware, signal distribution and implementation.
There are a few main physical components to wireless networks; those you choose to use should depend on the shape and size of your office, the number of users expected to be simultaneously connected, and what other networking devices are already present in the office. Let us discuss the various devices used to create wireless networks.
Wireless routers are probably what most individuals recognize as the primary networking device. Wireless routers do provide wireless connectivity for mobile devices, but they also, simultaneously, put those devices on a separate network than the rest of the office. This separate network can often still communicate with the rest of the office, but it creates a layer of redundancy that, in most cases, is not necessary and adds to network management.
Wireless access points (WAPs) are a better alternative to wireless routers as they provide connectivity to mobile devices but do not create a redundant network. In essence, WAPs simply "extend" your office's existing wired network into the wireless domain.
Both routers and access points can be used to create distributed wireless networks by linking to each other and relaying network traffic as if nodes of a single device. This can be useful for larger offices where the signal from a single router or access point is not able to reach all corners.
Range extenders and other wireless networking devices can be used to extend a wireless signal from a router or WAP or direct it along a more focused path. Such devices are typically not needed in small office deployments.
iPremise does not recommend a particular brand or model of wireless networking device, but we do recommend the use of WAPs over routers.
Depending on the shape and size of your office, more than one wireless access point may be needed to provide full coverage with a good signal. Most modern routers and WAPs provide wireless connectivity for areas more than one hundred feet in radius. The signal will bounce off walls and reach most nook and cranies within the access point's area. However, the signal strength can be reduced by other electronic devices, such as refrigerators and large clusters of cabling, creating interference. To help determine the best wireless network distribution for your office, iPremise can provide an on-site technician who will conduct a site survey. This service is provided for an hourly fee.
Now that you have some basic information in-hand, start looking for a wireless access point that would best suit your office's needs. Use this site to browse and compare available devices from multiple manufacturers. If a technician performed a site survey at your office, then a particular model may have already been recommended. iPremise does not assume responsibility for obtaining the wireless access point -- please do so yourself.
Once the access point is on-site, you may set up the device or iPremise can schedule an on-site technician to install the device for you. An hourly fee also accompanies this service.