Workplace Trends affecting Design and Optimization for Wireless (and 15 best practices)
By Jim Portaro
Driven by changing work styles, mobile technology, and the growing presence of Millennials; today’s workplaces are changing, mostly for the better. We have needed expertise for designing and implementing wireless high density and mobility for these next-gen workspaces, open environments and other top office design trends.
Some of the top Issues beyond simply aesthetics to solve in these new offices designs include: supporting significantly more devices per wireless cell, managing more contention for performance and troubleshooting additional interference from the environment and rogue wireless as well.
Contention and interference alone can significantly affect performance, it depends on the number of clients but it will begin to degrade significantly when over 50 clients are contending for signal.
Here are 15 best practices for dealing with these open spaces and wireless done right.
- Check application bandwidth, it varies significantly
- Design for density first, wireless services second and then coverage
- Know that cell shape can be optimized with antenna choice and selection
- Higher power does not mean better signal. There are some rules of thumb, if we have a conversation about your requirements, environment and applications, we can share some good heuristics
- Always talk to the end users and understand their roaming habits and paths in the space
- Surveys and Design, it is always worth doing, it is the key to the foundational physical layer
- Precisely follow the AP Placement locations and guidance (including flexibility cabling)
- Follow the AP Placement locations and guidance based on the RF survey (that is worth repeating)
- You can build a resilient and high availability wireless network with some extra thinking and planning and a little extra money utilizing active and standby ports if required
- Certify and optimize: RF Quality, Wi-Fi interference, Roaming, load balancing, band select
- Retire or “end of life” all your 802.11b and g devices and then disable the lower data rates? If you can’t disable them, manage them through SSIDs.
- Turn on QoS for roaming clients and critical applications; some customers see a 10X improvement properly configuring QoS.
- Prioritize your critical business and clinical applications (Fast Lane in Cisco, Wi-Fi multimedia protocol (WMM) in Aruba, configuration settings in other leading vendors)
- End to end security. There is a rapidly growing need for wireless security, if you have risk in your enterprise wireless, please call us – we’ll help you get your arms around it quickly for scoping. At a minimum get started with role-based, utilize detection technologies and category-based filtering. You made need to consider policy automation.
- Begin a network and wireless network lifecycle program management office, it will be much more expensive if you wake up one morning urgently needing it.
If these best practices are not part of your internal discussions, but you’re utilizing next-gen workspaces, you’re likely to have recurring Wi-Fi issues. Remember, it is possible to have a high performing, continuously available, secure WLAN with prioritized users and applications – That’s what we call “Wireless Done Right”. Call us!