The concept of bring your own device (BYOD) is a trend that is continuously growing among businesses. The Wireless industry is challenged with increased demands on infrastructure – more users, videos, applications, devices and noise!
Before implementing a new wireless infrastructure, there are 5 things you must consider:
1. Increasing Demand
More users leads to dropped packets and reduced bandwidth, make sure you can effectively plan for future requirements and mobile device management. Seems like everybody has a tablet or smartphone, do we all need video at the same time? Does the system scale effectively, just adding Access Points can introduce more interference.
2. Do your homework
Not all wireless LAN providers are the same. There are consumer grade devices suitable for your home, and then there are business class wireless LAN providers that have important features for industrial and high capacity applications. New technology with adaptive antennas can automatically adjust signals for horizontal or vertical orientations, a tablet or smartphone in your hand moves constantly unlike a desktop or laptop.
3. Do a wireless survey
Have a professional conduct an on premise test for coverage in your environment. Square footage estimates are not enough, your environment has nuances of beams, ceilings, walls, metal interferences, number of users, and peak demand requirements. It is important to test and measure throughput and coverage in specified areas at peak times, not just after hours. Certain wireless AP’s should be tested close to the desired mounting locations, ie, if the ceiling is 24 feet high, with obstructions, it would be best to test at those locations.
4. Cabling requirements
New technologies are available that provide wireless meshing, (connecting and extending coverage with wireless) to eliminate the need for LAN cabling. This can be especially important with closed access walls and ceilings that have historical value and may open the door for hazardous materials, like asbestos.
5. Review Total Cost of Ownership
Recently we completed a survey at a retail store where they had a consumer grade wireless AP for a 8,000 sq. ft. store with high shelving and rows of merchandise. Their wireless handheld barcode readers for inventory wouldn’t reach the shelves in the back of the store causing inaccurate inventory counts and ordering with manual intervention. The labor costs alone would have covered any additional differences in price. Or, how about the manufacturing company that deployed wireless handheld VOIP and spent an additional $800-$1000/yr on handset replacements because frustrated employees threw them against the walls when they didn’t work.