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Wireless Networking: Office Boon?

IEEE 802.11

IEEE 802.11 technology, the basis for the wireless network communication that we currently use, has remained pretty much unchanged for over a decade. There are multiple subcategories of the 802.11 standard identified by letter (g, n, ad, ay, etc…). Wireless networks have made huge gains in the past 10 years. Here some basic about wireless networks.

Speed

Speed is always a factor when deciding what sort of network you want to install for your business. Today typical small business wired networks today have speeds between 1Gbps and 10Gbps. Wireless protocols today provide comparable data stream rates with promises of the 802.11ay protocol delivering a whopping 100Gbps in the near future.

Security

Security is of paramount concern when dealing with your company information. Data sent over a wired network is by default more secure than a wireless one because one would need to be able to plug in to your network before data could be compromised. This means an intruder would have to be in your office and physically connected to your network. In the case of a wireless network, anyone in range of your wireless signal can “sniff” or spy on any data packets that are sent over the radio waves. Almost all wireless networks use some sort of data encryption, but if you had a dedicated hacker within range of your wireless signal with enough patience and follow through, they could probably gain entry to your wireless network. There is not a great risk that this could occur, but there is always a risk, so if network security is of paramount concern for you, it would behoove you to consider avoiding wireless networks. That said, a properly configured wireless will have robust security that is ample for protecting a business network.

Convenience

If you happen to be using a mobile computer (Laptop, Notebook, Netbook, etc) then the ability to not be tied to your desk is nice. However, the convenience of your desk as a central place to organize your business is important enough to most users to trump the convenience of mobility. Where wireless really shines in this category is how easy it is to connect multiple users to the network, or if you do not have to have enough wired jacks available within your office, to connect all your workstations.

Mobility

If you need to have extra mobility, the wireless network gives you the ability to take your computer with your wherever you need to go in the office. If there is a shared workspace, a conference room or you simply want to discuss something on your screen with your neighbor, the wireless network will allow you to carry laptops throughout the office. Now not all wireless solutions are equal and it is with mobility where they greatly differ. Stay tuned for an article specifically on this topic.

Invite Guests

Setting up multiple networks for your business is a great way to go. Guest and Conference Room access is a great use for wireless technology. If used in this way you can isolate the access that these users have to your business network files and programs without keeping your guests off of the internet.