Everything you need to know about implementing a wireless LAN

ITworld.com |  Networking

  • Define the wired backbone. If your wireless LAN's users need to
    communicate with users at other access points, you need to specify a wired backbone,
    such as Ethernet or Token Ring, to provide physical interconnections between access
    points. If you have a wired LAN, you can connect the access points to open ports on
    your switch or hub.

  • Define href="http://www.itworld.com/AppDev/1376/ITW2159/"> application
    connectivity software.
    These are the tools for interfacing devices that
    operate on the wireless LAN with host systems. For instance, if you need to reach
    applications that run on an AS/400 or Unix box, you'll probably need to specify
    terminal emulation software for your handheld devices. Consider using wireless
    middleware if high reliability -- or the ability to interface with data located on
    multiple, dissimilar host systems -- is required.

  • Choose products. Consider the products' technical
    specifications, such as standards compliance, optional features beyond the scope of the
    802.11 standard, price, warranties, and technical support capability.

  • Verify the design. This includes verifying that the
    technologies, configurations, and product selections truly satisfy your requirements.
    To do this, you can run simulations and set up a physical prototype.

    A simulation uses software models, like HREF="http://www.opnet.com/products/library/WLAN.htm">Opnet, that artificially
    represent an 802.11 network's hardware, software, traffic flows, and utilization. You
    can run simulations and check results quickly; days of network activity go by in
    minutes of simulation runtime. Simulation tools, however, are generally costly, with
    prices in the tens of thousands of dollars. You might be better off hiring a company
    that already owns a simulation tool.

    Run a physical prototype by constructing and testing part of the system you wish to
    verify. You get real results because you're using the actual hardware and software. Be
    prepared to reconfigure your prototype as you go. Don't skip this step if you need to
    ensure compatibility among 802.11-compliant products from different vendors.

  • Document the design. As with requirements and other phases of a
    system implementation project, you should document the details of the design before you
    implement it. Be certain to document schematics, building-layout drawings, and bills of
    materials or parts lists.

  • Once you finish these steps, you'll be ready to procure the components.

    Next time, we'll take a close look at configuring an href="http://www.itworld.com/Net/1749/ITWnet-geier-0323/">802.11b-
    compliant access point.

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