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When evaluating Wireless LANs, what aspect do you think is the most important to look for?

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ITCS user
2626 Answers

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Real User

Reliability, ease of diagnostics...enabling a no-hassle always on wireless service to my users.

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TCO is what I look at.  You can get the APs cheap but what is the yearly maintenance cost do you need cloud or local control.  The big manufacturers all have good products as I have said when buying laptops many times the chips are the same the boards are the same what is the difference service after the sale!  These are my 2 big things I look for.

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Real User

Performance, ease of management with minimal manpower and security in term of WIPS

author avatar
Top 5Real User

It depends on the physical environment you have. 

If it is an easy environment (close proximity to the AP and not too many clients), then all APs will give similar results with good customer satisfaction. In this case, you should look into price differences.

All AP manufacturers purchase their chipsets from the same two chip manufacturers and all Wi-Fi features come already embedded in the chipset. 

If you have high traffic loads and a not-so-easy physical environment (distance, too many APs to accommodate, a large number of users in close proximity, changes in the environment such as a warehouse being loaded or emptied, clients holding mobile devices at different angles, etc.) then you should look into "adaptive antenna technology" and "Polarization Diversity" such as from Ruckus Wireless.

Chipsets being the same, the difference in customer experience is achieved by antenna design. 

Adaptive antenna technology causes the AP to have directional coverage patterns on a per-packet basis. This gives a stronger signal level for the same distance. The better the signal, the better the performance is.

It can also reach far corners where omnidirectional antennas will fall short.  

This technology also causes fewer interference problems for other close-by APs (important for crowded areas with too many APs).

Mobile devices which can be held at different angles benefit from "polarization diversity" because they do not lose as much signal strength due to holding the client device at an angle not consistent with the AP's signal polarization. 

Your APs should also have a good "ear" because not all client devices can radiate a signal as strong as the APs can. We need to be able to communicate both ways (from AP to the clients, and from clients to the AP). So, AP sensitivity is also important. Because power and sensitivity figures are given in terms of dBm (logarithmic), keep in mind that every 3 dB difference means twice the power or twice the sensitivity (hearing capability).  

For crowded areas such as conference rooms and stadiums, etc., you should consider directional antenna solutions rather than omnidirectional antennas to minimize the number of clients hearing a particular AP both for performance issues and also for minimizing ico-channel and adjacent-channel interferences.  

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Top 5LeaderboardReal User

Stability and reliability so that my users do not have to worry about the connection.

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Real User

Other than the obvious, strong reliable coverage and cost, I like to have the ability to control everything in the cloud so if I am not at the office, I can still see what's going on and make changes as needed to any and all AP's and Bridges, as well as get notifications about attempted hacks into the wireless network.

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Real User

Signal strength

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Real User

Range, brand reliability, support 

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Real User

Range, stability, Long Time Evaluation, cost effective 

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Several things come to mind but a few things stand out.
1. The term "future ready" comes to mind. I've seen businesses put
significant money into WiFi only to find some aspects of their networks are
either not compatible with new Wireless IP standards or their
infrastructure incapable of handling the increased bandwidth for the newer
standard. Operating at 2.4GHz is no longer efficient. The newest
standard is 802.11x. The foundation of your network sets the tone for all
that occurs on it. If it needs an upgrade that should be part of any
research and planning. Technology moves quickly, you must be able to move
ahead with it.

2. You need to understand the range of WiFi specifications from 802.11 to
802.11x and everything inbetween as to how it affects your network and how
it will affect your networks future growth.

3. If you aren't the person with the specific networking skills needed find
someone who is. Finding truly talented network engineers can ensure your
WiFi network will be able to handle what comes along for many years down
the road by using generic switches, easily replaced modules and being able
to program or write the code to manage the system. Your network is only as
good as who builds it and you need someone who has the skills, talent and
smarts to implement for the longer term. I've seen these guys operate and
when they do what they accomplish can be called a work of art, or better
yet, state of the art. Your network operates at state of the art levels
because they think that way. You need not hire the most expensive
technical engineers but it pays to hire the best you can.

4. While cost is not the most important factor it still rates high for most
if not all purchasing decisions. I won't get brand specific but quality
matters more than name and while some name brand equipment is fine, you
need not purchase the most expensive access points and switches to
accomplish the job well. Compatibility, ease of use and quality components
that will last are more important in my opinion. Proprietary equipment
which locks you into a certain brand for more expensive repurchase or
replacement parts can quickly blow a budget. Look for good quality, good
performance and compatibility with other equipment. This provides for a lower
total cost of ownership.

5. System management and ease of management is essential to balance the
network and maintain your network without unnecessary overlap or
interference. Good management is an absolute necessity for maintaining user
access and to supplement thorough planning. Good planning really helps
when you have to deploy hundreds if not more access points as a business
expands to accommodate growth and remote users. I was always taught to
look ahead at least 5 years. If you have a network in place or are putting
one in place, you are not done when successful connectivity is
established. It's not a set it up and leave it situation. Maintaining the
network and looking for opportunities to provide services comes with the

6. Securing the network from rogue users while allowing authorized
personnel and guest user access. This probably comes under plan design and
management but is no less important. Todays world requires enhanced
security by way of WLAN Intrusion Prevention Systems (IPS) and Intrusion
Detection System (IDS) control to contain wireless threats, enforce
security policy compliance, and safeguard information.

7. Computers and peripheral equipment are often overlooked when researching
a WiFi network. It does no good to have a world class network capable of
operating at 5GHz frequency range and you purchase $100,000 worth of cheap
computers or laptops because they were a deal but they will only operate at
2.4 GHz because they have obsolete NIC cards and now you have a huge
bottleneck and significant wasted dollars. The 802.11ac specification
operates only in the 5 GHz frequency range. Cheap systems, printers and
other peripherals generally do not. Do not find yourself in the position
or out of a position because of spending significant money on boat
anchors. I've seen it done.

8. Then I'd look at increasing IP telephony and video-conferencing
capability within the WiFi network for users and clients. Scalability and
ease of expansion should be a no brainer.

Hope this helps answer the question.

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Zero Downtime and easy management is most important

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I've found that Juniper networks equipment is more scalable and less
proprietary. Cisco isn't a bad solution but more expensive initially and
for replacement components. Juniper is solid and reliable and some say
better than Cisco because open source software can be used with it. I
deliberately did not recommend a brand and really dislike doing so in a
forum. Makes one look like a sales person with an agenda. WiFi not so
fundamental anymore. More mainstream yes but getting much more complex
with load balancinng, access security and equipment compatibility.
Compatibility is where it's at for scalability. Cisco does not guarantee
their equipment will work with other vendor equipment though at times it

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Top 5User

Performance followed then by ease of management. You want to choose the best option that you can afford, for the main goal of getting your users on and off the WiFi and as quickly as possible.

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I think that the solution needs to be easy to manage and to be very stable, as much as possible.

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Real User

UX, scalability, management...

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Only one aspect - Does this WLAN solution meet my organizational requirement ?

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scalability, availability, policies, service level, cost.

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Best quality (technical features, management/monitoring system, open platform, support, future vision of vendor) at best price.

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Sterling support is most important to me.

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Most important is the ability to detect and minimize interferences. Goid signal strenght and adequate coverage. Hsvevthe place checked by an engineer to verify where an how many wifi units you need. As ither says it is importabt to have roaming so that cliebt devices would navigate seamlessly. The brand is important but even more the support service from the vendor (which coukd also gelp you keep your system updated). It is very difficult to forsee the need over 5+ years so the support is helping in that also. The bandwidth is important but overspending for a resource you are maybe going to use in years to come is a bad idea. Technology evolve very quickly and the risk to have an obsolete overpriced piece of junk Iis just few years away.

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Because Wi-Fi solution is a every foundmental solution, So I think the most important criteria is looking forward to the coming 5 years or even more longer.

To achieve this goal,
you should considering the Brand, which we chose Cisco, our Wi-Fi project was done by Aug 2010.
Does the Wi-Fi bandwidth(main feature) will becoming to be a bottleneck in the coming 5 years? 450Mbps per 25 devices, which it would not to be a bottleneck in about 5 years.
Are the software(IOS) updateable? Yes.

author avatar

Regarding WLAN:

Solid connections, QOS.

Good throughput, connection speed.

Adequate connections, multi-channel.

In the end, for my use; still prefer Cat5/6, wired connections.

Exceptionally large unique, data files, for majority of users, perform far
better with good old Ethernet connection.

Jim Sherburne

author avatar
Real User

According to my opinion speed and availability of wireless network are very important while designing WLAN solutions. But the most important criteria is the ability to maintain security of the data in WLAN solutions. The security fears have caused many network managers to avoid installing WLAN solutions. Therefore now a days wireless vendors are working more on the security of devices and many new security features are introduced.

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Survey, Survey, Survey! Dont over saturate as you will be blowing your budget for no gain. and dont buy cheap as you will end up buying again. Any more than x 10 AP's use a controller

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Three main factors: reliability, availability, efficiency and all features which lead us to that.
Enterprise solutions should have some enterprise features such as roaming, HA, policies, freq hopping, captive/guest portal, interference detection.
Also wifi should be cost effective then price of licences, controller appliance and ap's should be adequate to signal coverage, number of users and required thrughput. Generally business needs :)
The thing worth to remember is warranty and service level.

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View point of Access Point application not mobile device
-802.11 standard : 11a/b/g/n/ac/wave 2
-MU-MIMO support, How many SS can be supported
-Bandwidth 160MHz

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