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Telaid Blog

Site Survey, Retail, Wireless, Technology Integration

Is Your Wireless Infrastructure Deployment Positioned To Meet Your Upcoming Needs? Here Are Some Tips To Make Sure It Is.

05 April, 2018
by Tel@Adm1n@a1d

In our Year In Review eBook, we outlined a checklist to help retailers think about their IT infrastructure prior to embarking on major technology deployments. By evaluating infrastructure needs prior to rollouts, retailers can help ensure that technologies are integrated on time, on budget and positioned for optimal performance. image illustrating what is involved in wireless infrastructure deployments

While this may seem like an obvious step, the truth is, time and time again we see retailers deploy technologies without taking time to delve into their infrastructure needs to support the technologies they are deploying today and in the coming months. 

Unfortunately, this is particularly true when it comes to wireless infrastructure deployments. Which in many ways, are more complex than preparing traditional IT infrastructure.

Wireless network deployments face several challenges:

  • The number of devices that are going wireless and therefore connecting to Wi-Fi is growing exponentially. From cameras to printers, mobile phones to IoT sensors, the list of wireless devices is seemingly endless and still growing!
  • Wireless connectivity is impacted by a great number of factors ranging from building layout to construction materials, the number of users and devices, and types of data being accessed, just to name a few. This makes effectively predicting usage a challenge.
  • As technologies progress and the rate of data consumption rises, these new demands on the wireless network require changes to the supporting infrastructure. More access points may be required and, in turn, more cabling to connect those access points. Traditional Cat 5 cabling may no longer be sufficient; an upgrade to Cat 5e or Cat 6 may be required. The network is only as strong as its weakest link.
  • Wireless networks are particularly vulnerable to security breaches so constructing networks that offer convenient access to users while blocking access to unwanted users can be tricky.
  • With so many factors at play and with the speed of technology developments, it’s extremely difficult to effectively predict wireless needs in the future. 

Failure to deploy adequate wireless infrastructure can result in frustration, poor performance of critical technologies, or overwhelmed infrastructure that must be immediately upgraded within months of initial installation. 

Due to these challenges, we decided to offer this special checklist, dedicated exclusively to the wireless infrastructure assessment. Here are some things to think about when it comes to Wi-Fi.

The wireless infrastructure deployment assessment checklist

  1. What are the types and numbers of devices that will access the wireless network (be sure to include “planned traffic” - like the technologies you are deploying - as well as “unplanned traffic” - like employees, visitors, etc. that will want to connect their personal phones, tablets, PCs to the network.
  2. Are there plans to deploy additional technologies beyond the next 6 – 12 months, over the next 12 – 24 months of which you are aware?
  3. Do you have sufficient routing and switching to support the new applications? Is your current cabling able to support the new access points or does it need to be upgraded?
  4. Have you considered the impact of different building materials, proximity to other businesses, and foreseeable changes to the building or its use of your wireless infrastructure?
  5. Have you conducted a predictive survey to assess the number of access points needed for the particular location in question? (The factors above can alter wireless infrastructure requirements even if buildings are the exact same size, footprint, and layout.)
  6. Have you verified the signal strength, interference from other network and channelization of your Wi-Fi network?
  7. Do you have the proper firewall/ security appliance in place?
  8. Is your firmware up-to-date with the latest version to prevent security breaches?
  9. Do you have sufficient WAN bandwidth to support remote video live viewing or downloads?
  10. Have you conducted an on-site survey to understand other critical variables that may not be evident during the predictive analysis?

Spend some time considering these and other questions prior to deploying your wireless network. The investment of your time and trouble pays back in reduced costs, less frustration and greater success of your overall technology plans.

To understand more about the pitfalls of planning wireless infrastructure deployments, check out this case study.

For more tips on preparing for your technology deployments in 2018, download our Year In Review Guide

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