Nov 25 2015

Set Up a Best-in-Class WLAN

As use of mobile devices in the office grows, wireless local area networks become critical assets to be managed strategically.

Today’s increasingly mobile workforce demands ubiquitous, fast wireless access to meet the changing needs of the modern organization. Wireless networks have evolved from an add-on to the core of an enterprise’s network. Many users now forgo the use of wired networks and rely entirely on wireless connections. This trend is likely to continue. Enterprises that anticipate this need and strategically manage wireless LANs achieve enhanced wireless performance and increased user satisfaction.

Actively managing the wireless network requires the use of network management tools to automate routine tasks and gain new insight into network activity through user behavior analytics. Fortunately, the same software used to manage wired networks normally has the ability to perform sophisticated management of wireless networks.

Best-in-class network managers use a “single pane of glass” approach to manage as much of the network as possible from a unified console. These consoles provide converged access management, visibility into the network usage patterns of users and applications, and cross-functional views that support different types of network analysis.

Best-in-class wireless networks must also promote strong security. Organizations increasingly transmit sensitive business information wirelessly, making the security of those networks paramount. Wireless network security goes beyond simply enabling Wi-Fi Protected Access encryption on the network and includes the use of specialized wireless security tools. Some technologies that organizations may wish to consider deploying on wireless networks include mobile device management (MDM) capabilities.

MDM software allows the enterprise to actively manage the mobile devices used by employees. Enterprise administrators may use MDM to remotely apply security policies to the smartphones and tablets used by staff to ensure that they operate in a manner that protects the sensitive business information that they store and transmit. This may include requiring a strong device passcode and encryption, limiting the installation of apps on the device and providing remote wipe capabilities for lost or stolen devices.

Best-in-class wireless networks also prioritize network traffic that is important to the business. This includes the classification and prioritization of network use based upon the application in use and the identity of the user. For example, a cashier attempting to complete a point-of-sale transaction should have higher network priority than a data entry clerk watching a training video. Similarly, applications that depend on low-latency network connections, such as unified communications, should have priority over uses without latency restrictions, such as viewing web pages.

For more information on the 802.11ac standard, read the white paper, “Achieving a Best-in-Class Wireless Infrastructure.”

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