Wireless in the Workplace

I have been getting more questions about wireless networks in the Workplace lately.  And with more people using wireless in their homes it seems to be slowly creeping into the workplace more and more. If properly setup wireless can make your network a little easier to maintain by removing some of the wires and holes in the wall previously needed.

Here are a couple considerations to keep in mind BEFORE going to a wireless network.

Depending on the wireless device (access point or router) you purchase the speed of the network might not seem as fast as a hardwired network.
This is because most access points,routers or wireless network cards transmit/receive data at a rate of 54 mbps, where as a hardwired network card and a standard cat5 cable transmit/receive at 100 mbps (Megabits Per Second) although faster wireless devices can be purchased there is still the fact of what speed your computer is actually connecting at.  For example even though your wireless device is rated at 54mbps (even if it was rated at 108 mbps) you may still only be connecting to it a rate of 24 mbps.  Much slower then the rated 54mbps and about a quarter of the speed of a wired network.

Another thing to consider is how spread out are the devices to be connected wirelessly.  Most of the cause of speed and connection issues are because your access point is located in a spot with interference or just too far away.  There are some ways to improve performance.
One way is by moving the access point/router in a more central spot for better reception.   Although this will not guarantee the best performance it may give enough of an increase to be tolerable.

The reason I bring this up (besides the questions) is because we recently had a customer try to change to an all wireless network on their own without considering the things that were mentioned and were having a lot of trouble keeping connected to the Internet and the applications they use everyday and getting frustrated.  Being that moving equipment was not what they wanted to do we ended up using the old hardwired approach alleviating much of the frustration they were experiencing.

If you are considering going wireless consider calling our Support Department at 800-672-4806 or email me at support@ccscentral.com so we could setup a review of your site to see if wireless will truly be an upgrade instead of a possible frustrating test.  As wireless technology gets better and better I am sure we will see it in the workplace as commonly as we see computers.  But until then keep these thoughts in mind.


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