Technology March 7, 2016 Last updated September 18th, 2018 1,184 Reads share

Enterprise WiFi Shortcomings and Ways to Better Its Prospects

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With the ever growing adoption of mobility through smartphones and tablets and the desire for people to remain connected regardless of the location, WiFi has acquired popularity with all. Though wireless wide area networks like 3G and 4G are available now in most urban locales, WiFi is still preferred in most cases owing to the support offered as well as the option to remain connected wherever you go. Most people now have Wi-Fi connection at home and they expect the same experience while they are traveling as well as at the workstation. It’s quite fair to say that Wi-Fi has grown from a technology used chiefly in warehouses as well as business environments to a commodity technology that is available to all.

Since Wi-Fi has become a commodity, can we use the same technology that we are using at home in the business environments as well?

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No. This is not possible.

Though some standards are same, there are a few differences between the products that are designed for personal use and the ones that are designed for enterprise-class solutions. It is easy to guess that the Wi-Fi network used in universities, retailers, and the large hospitals will have other needs than the Wi-Fi network you are using at home though the differences are comparatively less obvious for the small and the medium-sized business houses.

Let’s first check out on the shortcomings of enterprise Wi-Fi.

Changing the WPA or WPA2 Pre-Shared Keys

One of the most secure as well as the easiest ways that help the users gain access to enterprise Wi-Fi networks is configuring WPA2-Enterprise with the 802.1X authentication. On several devices like Windows PCs, this authentication is transparent. When the users login to PC using their Active Directory password and username, the same credentials are also made use of to authenticate them through 802.1X on wireless networks.

There are several situations when the companies are not able to integrate 802.1X authentication fully. Instead, the devices authenticate with the pre-shared keys. These are usually static passwords entered into the devices for authentication.

The problem that crops up here is, the shared key is not kept as secret for long. The employees often share it with the people who are not supposed to get the access. As you can guess, this is a security concern.

Inconsistent Experience at the Remote Sites

If a given organization comes with a centralized headquarter and several remote sites, the Wi-Fi experience can be quite variable. In case the employees are required to travel from one location to another where the wireless connection process and the capabilities are varied, these differences become noticeable.

Though it may not be always possible to ensure uniform network across several locations, attempts should be made to at least ensure they are close.

Inadequate Capacity

The legacy Wi-Fi networks were originally designed as well as deployed to ensure best wireless coverage while using a minimum number of wireless access points. This was done to cut down costs. Now Wi-Fi is used so much that the legacy networks are suffering from overcapacity. If too many users remain connected to a given access point, it may reduce performance dramatically. In case the parts of the network become congested, it can reduce performance as well.

Several SSIDs

The companies must broadcast more than one SSID on the wireless network. At least two SSIDs are necessary because one of them will be for the employees and the other one will be for guest access. But, in most instances, there are more than two SSIDs broadcasted. This is not a trouble if they are used for legitimate purposes. But if there are more than 5 or 6 SSIDs broadcasted, you will leave the users confused about which one they should connect to at a given point of time.

Now, let us check out on a few tips you can use to better Wi-Fi in office.

Evaluate Current Network

The end-user complaints are not always the best way to determine the efficacy of current Wi-Fi networks. The location of the user also has a significant role to play here. If you want to know of wireless problems, site surveys will prove to be the best possible solution.

An active survey will provide you the requisite details, on the basis of which, you can take a decision. If you are planning ahead, say, for example of adding a new floor or a building, you can opt for a predictive site analysis. This will help to input the coverage needs as well as build floor-plans estimating how many access points can be necessary and where shall you put them.

Know the Expectation

To decide if a project is successful, you must determine what success looks like. If it is WLAN, it refers to understanding who will be using the network as well as what it will be used for.

Determine the Number as Well as Device Type

Is your organization undergoing rapid growth? If your organization is undergoing rapid growth, there will be more end-users. What is the BYOD policy of your company? Can your guests access Wi-Fi?

The answer to these questions will help to determine the number of devices required. This will affect the density of the access points as well.

Bring the Infrastructure under Consideration

The characteristics of the building where your office is located is yet another key factor determining the number of access points essential, the place where you will be mounting them, the level of transmit power as well as the bands to be used.

Begin the job by evaluating the type of building materials for all the areas that require wireless access since walls as well as other obstructions are capacitated to impede the signal strength.

Setting up the corporate Wi-Fi networks is not hard. In fact, it is as easy as well as straightforward as setting up the home router. Just make sure that the Wi-Fi network is secure, you do not risk losing information or get uninvited guests on the network.

Images: ”connectivity concept: Free wifi area sign on phone screen /Shutterstock.com

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Steven Scheck

Steven Scheck

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