A Guide to Effectively Managing
Enterprise Wi-Fi Networks
Published 2007, Posted December 2007
Not so very long ago, wireless LAN access was a novelty in the corporate world, largely reserved for curious engineers and privileged executives. Back then, managing the radio activity on a wireless network was often as simple as making sure the CEO could use a notebook computer to gain intranet access from the conference room down the hall.
These days, radio frequency (RF) management involves overseeing and controlling all the devices and all the activity on a enterprise wireless LAN - and chances are that itís a great deal of activity. RF management is a challenging job that grows more challenging as Wi-Fi gains in popularity. These days, a typical enterprise wireless LAN can span multiple buildings at multiple sites. Thousands of employees and their mobile computers may use the Wi-Fi network not only for data access, but for voice and video applications, too. Wi-Fi is increasingly becoming a default feature in electronic devices ranging from hospital infusion pumps to phones, let alone notebook PCs. The demand for enterprise mobility is expected to grow dramatically during the next few years, driven by the uptake of applications such as mobile e-mail and mobile workforce management applications. The number of mobile applications that enterprises deploy to their employees is likely to grow by 30 percent per year through 2011, according to the consultancy Gartner, Inc.
Thus, the person in charge of the enterprise wireless LAN has the daunting task of ensuring that employees have ubiquitous, consistent, secure access to the Wi-Fi network, from myriad mobile devices. And in order to meet that challenge, itís important that a WLAN can address the many facets of RF management.
RF management is an all-inclusive challenge that includes taking care of
every access point and client device on a wireless network Ė while catching
every device that doesnít belong there. In order to avoid making WLAN
administration a full-time headache, IT administrators who are deploying or
extending enterprise WLANs must make sure that RF management is not an
afterthought. In fact, RF management should be a top priority.
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