The way desktop computing is going, wireless communication is almost a natural assumption, but it still is really a leap forward from the typical office network administration. Fortunately, for small businesses, a wireless local area network or (WLAN) is both easier and cheaper to set up than traditional network administration, which makes it very tempting for bootstrap startups. Unfortunately, there are also key risks that need to be addressed as well (traffic management, security, data integrity in transit, bandwidth and speed).
Again, WLANs are a godsend to small businesses on a budget, just as much as cloud computing if not more. So, no surprise, many small companies have immediately adapted the idea, constructing their first computer networks on the backbone of wireless routers around the office and a few resource servers taking in and outputting everything through air signals versus Ethernet cabling. However, as soon as a few more than two or three heavy users hit the network the limitations become apparent; wireless routing can’t handle big throughput without serious bandwidth accommodations.
The addition of access points, new employees, more floors and distance and even physical building barriers all add to an increasing amount of signal resistance and slowing things down. Some of this can be circumvented for a while with configuration and placement of more routers and boosters, but after awhile it becomes a full-time job just trying to keep the ship running at every user node.
A key piece of equipment every small business WLAN network should be using is a wireless LAN controller. This hardware component allows for a consolidated point of access, and all that traffic then runs into the wireless network. Because it is designed for compatibility, the WLAN controller works with all types of connections from Ethernet to IP to LWAPP to Lightweight Access Point Protocol for multiple wireless networks. Controllers are also robust can easily handle up to 250 users at the same time with up to 25 different wireless connection points. And, here’s the best part, these units are compact and easy to place. A small business doesn’t have to designate an entire closet space for the network infrastructure with one of these controllers. All the connections are standard plugin inputs, making the setup extremely easy to figure out as well.
That said, there are additional benefits to a small business WLAN controller aside from consolidation of traffic. The simplification cuts down on all the multiple access points that would otherwise have to be set up and configured in the building as well as their monitoring to keep them up and running. Second, the controller automatically manages the optimization of traffic within its various choices of input and output, reducing the traffic management network administrator types often find themselves facing. For the small business owner/manager who wears multiple hats including IT, this is a big bonus. This management includes shifting network traffic when a point failure is sensed as well.
On the security side a WLAN controller provides hardware security firewalls to intrusion and early detection, which are far more effective than any software firewall approach. WiFi security walls and password filtering are all standard with the controllers, locking down traffic to only authorized users versus anyone nearby who picks up the wireless signal from the company.
So just because your small business is growing doesn’t mean big dollars have to be sunk into a traditional cable network just yet. The WLAN Controller allows enhanced wireless flexiblity and big cost savings in a small but powerful package. Take a look to see how it fits for your needs.