June 20, 2005

How vendors are trying to ease often-difficult WLAN deployments

Author: Paul Korzeniowski

Wireless LANs can boost productivity by providing users with quick and easy access to important data. While companies understand the possible benefits from these systems, IT departments often struggle with one vexing issue: where to place Wi-Fi access points.

Deploying a wireless LAN is much more difficult than setting up a wired LAN because users have to address a wide range of bandwidth contention and interference issues. Transmission rates can vary because of the thickness of cubicle walls, the placement of microwave ovens, the power of the Wi-Fi antenna, and overlap from neighboring networks, something that is becoming more and more problematic. "In office buildings, it has become quite common for wireless LANs to overlap and create throughput and channel contention issues," noted Greg Collins, senior director at market research firm Dell'Oro Group.

As a result, firms often are unsure about where to place access points, so their networks have desired coverage. "Most corporate IT staffs have had little to no experience with RF technology," noted Bruce Van Nice, vice president of marketing at Trapeze Networks, Inc. Firms, like AirMagnet, Inc., AirWave, Inc., Aruba Wireless, Inc., AutoCell Laboratories Inc., Cisco Inc., Cognio Inc., Trapeze, Wavelink Corp., and Wireless Valley Communications are trying to make this task easier. They have developed various tools that help firms pinpoint potential trouble spots before deployment or determine where to station access points as network usage changes.

Click Here!