5 Essential Wireless Network Design Components You’re Missing Today

Wireless Network Design

5 Essential Wireless Network Design Components You’re Missing Today

Steps to Avoid Common Issues With Your Wireless Network Design

Many organizations are dealing with current wireless network design trends and challenges, a few that you likely are exploring, or should be, include:

  • Incorporating Design Best Practices
  • Outsourcing WIFI
  • Getting the Most Out of Analytics
  • Implementing MDM / Mobile Commerce POS

You may be asking, “how will these points help maximize my ROI? When/how do I invest in them and how much should I invest?”

In this article, I will dive deeper into the trends above, talk about the hurdles you may experience, and cover issues you may not be thinking about and steps you can take to avoid them. Before the read, learn more about our global wireless solutions here.

Wireless Network Design Component #1: Wireless LAN Design

We believe that Wi-Fi is forgiving and easy, and perhaps early in the 70s, this might have been accurate as the largest issues had been coverage; then the issue was density, recently we talked about not having enough throughput. Today, despite what Google might tell you, Wi-Fi is a challenge.

You may have heard that access points can cover 5000 feet, this is not necessarily true. It depends on the requirements.

It’s important to build airtime to allow slow “talking” devices time to talk and allowing fast talking devices the chance to get on and off the RF medium quickly.

Airtime is accomplished by following WLAN design best practices. For example, a restaurant chain we work with did not put the customer experience in the forefront and ended up reducing access points at one of their locations. Now they are having issues, in which would have been covered by the original access points we suggested.

[REMEMBER 802.11AC IN YOUR WIRELESS LAN PLAN… read more]

The takeaway from this is by not following a design process; you will create poor performance and dissatisfaction for your customers across your locations. As you move forward, you’ll end up going back to redesign, costing you more dollars than needed.

By following a solid design process, you’ll have good performing access points at your locations and will not have to go back and make costly redesigns. There is no guessing in WIFI.

Does your wireless LAN design fully cover all of your locations?

CASE STUDY: Comm-Works’ Wireless LAN strategy for the most profitable retailer in the world… READ MORE

Wireless LAN for a Profitable Retailer

Wireless LAN for a Profitable Retailer

Wireless Network Design Component #2: Do you Care What is Behind the Wi-Fi Curtain?

While we see companies that have networking specialists, they aren’t always a mobile-first group. Wi-Fi and wireless can become a second thought technology that is not understood, deployed and forgotten… until the dreaded help desk calls come in. It might be time to consider the model used to manage your Wi-Fi networks.

Do you want to bring on Wi-Fi centric network engineers at higher costs? Would it make more sense to free up the resources you have today to work on high priority projects?

It often is beneficial to let a company that specializes in wireless technologies help with design, building, or managing wireless networks. It is especially important after the WLAN deployment to allow you and your team to cut down on time spent troubleshooting, freeing up hours in which you may utilize your resources elsewhere.

For example, a retailer began working with Comm-Works for the routing and switching aspects of their networks, rather than bringing on expensive experts separately in each of these areas. Not only do they have the expertise needed to cover all their managed Wi-Fi needs, but they also have the ongoing management included.

Managed service providers maintain the experts; just because you have a networking expert doesn’t mean they are a security, mobile device management services, or Wi-Fi expert. Allowing a managed Wi-Fi vendor to help you without bringing on additional costly resources, provides immediate ROI. You’ll see they have the tools/experience needed to create a customized solution for your organization.

With many moving parts in Wi-Fi, do you have the expertise needed to ensure optimal cost savings?

[3 ESSENTIAL MOBILE SOLUTIONS TO IMPROVE CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE… read more]

Wireless Network Design Component #3: What is your Failover Answer?

Do you have a bulletproof WAN connection?

With providers such as Cradlepoint, we no longer must pay for or wait for wired connectivity – primary or secondary. We can have first-day connectivity over Cradlepoint and 4G/LTE-A and at a cost that you can control and even beat compared to the price from traditional carriers.

For example, a large hospitality organization is working with us to complete 525 site deployments incorporating Cradlepoint to implement a sprint failover solution. They have encountered the ease, speed, and reliability of the deployment.

Think outside the traditional solution; we have previously been wired to think of the primary and secondary options. Think of wireless as both primary and secondary to meet your individual needs with multi-site deployment. With a growing market and growing technology, there is more opportunity for cost savings.

How are you ensuring you have a reliable failover solution across all your locations?

[12 TECHNOLOGY TRENDS YOU NEED TO KNOW FROM COMM-WORKS’ 2018 SYMPOSIUM… read more]

Wireless Network Design Component #4: Why Analytics?

Are you using a form of business analytics services in your environment today?

We initially think of analytics in the retail space for customer engagement, and that has been a good sector for the introduction of analytics. What we haven’t considered is that analytics has uses beyond retail.

Enterprises can gain information regarding high-density client areas, instead of using these new flex spaces, which are in all reality, an educated guess regarding workspace.

In contrast, the use of analytics can give a much greater level of space use detail, and what is traversing the network when employee spaces are in use.

Beyond retail, where we know analytics are valuable when deployed, there is valuable information out there in hospitality and healthcare. Which of your restaurants/bars/meeting spaces do people spend most of their time? What devices are being used most in your waiting rooms/family areas/ER? For larger enterprise customers – where do your employees congregate? Do they prefer open spaces, or do they stay in fixed spots?

There are many questions to be asked about your current solution, or lack thereof. Do you know where employees and customers are congregating most across all your locations?

[ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE FOR WIRELESS TECHNOLOGY IS A GAME CHANGER FOR YOUR ORGANIZATION… read more]

Wireless Network Design Component #5: Did you Choose the Right Vendor?

There have been a few big names in networking for many years. Are you settling with the biggest vendor, or matching a vendor to meet your individual needs?

While large vendors have good solutions, we need to take a step back and see what else is available. I am not saying that we must give up on the big vendors, but we need to explore what options are available to answer questions our respective enterprises are asking and ensure the vendor we choose best aligns with our needs. We must push manufacturers to create solutions.

Some vendors are forward thinkers, who go above and beyond the big guerillas. You will miss out if you don’t consider the other vendors that can more uniquely customize their approach and ensure optimal ROI for your organization.

Do you choose your vendors based on their name, or by how they can meet your individual needs?

Check out my recent webinar recording, Wireless 101: Top Improvements for Modern Network and Mobility

Wireless 101 Webinar

CONCLUSION

I’ve covered many topics in this article that are vital to wireless network design. What is your wireless LAN design strategy? Do you care what is behind the Wi-Fi curtain? What is your failover answer? Why do you need analytics? Did you choose the right vendor to meet your needs?

If you are unsure on any of these questions, it is time to begin strategizing next steps for your organization.

Comm-Works’ strategy around areas such as our IOT Solutions & Services and Internet Failover Solutions will ensure your organization takes your wireless network design strategy to the next level.

I’d love to hear from you and discuss areas of your wireless network design that may be improved and what steps you must take to get there.

LET ME HELP WITH YOUR WIRELESS NETWORK DESIGN CHALLENGES

Heath Blobaum

Director of Wireless Technology at Comm-Works

Heath currently serves as the Manager of Wireless Engineering for Comm-Works. He possesses experience in the technology and computer science space, and has over 10 years of experience in the information technology field. He holds his Degree in Computer Science and Networking from Hennepin Technical College in MN and in his spare time, his interests lie in biking, comedy, and spending time outdoors.



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