Guest access, corporate access, mobile and tablet connectivity, IP/voice and security camera recordings all used to be primarily wired. Recently however the tables have turned, like the floppy disk drive which was once a necessity it’s now an add-on, it’s the same with the LAN as the Ethernet port has become less of a necessary to provide connectivity for desktops and laptops and wireless connectivity is now accepted as standard. Wireless networks do however present their own challenges with regard to security, flexibility and management; Security to prevent unauthorised devices, intrusion attempts and to stop the propagation of any malware; Flexibility to cater for laptops, VoIP devices, printers, smart phones and tablet devices whether owned by the business, an employee or guest user and manageable from a single centralised platform.
Why do i need to Manage Wireless Devices?
For many years businesses have been implementing wireless technology, some of these implementations have been merely around putting in an individual wireless device or access point to cater for guest access and some corporate access whilst other implementations have been around implementing a single controllable wireless solution throughout a LAN / WAN. We have seen a shift recently with access points now including hardware encryption modules, large amounts of memory and even multi-core CPUs, in fact the access points have become powerful enough to function as a management platform and an access point at the same time which has led to clustered access points that are quickly deployable but nonetheless secure and resilient ensuring that smaller deployments become cost effective and easier to manage whilst larger deployments can take advantage of faster hardware and advantages of a controller based solution.
Benefits of Wireless Solutions
Wireless connectivity is no longer a ‘nice to have’ but a necessity; whether this allows guests and visitors the ability to access the Internet or the IT support teams secured wireless access to routers/switches when in a server room. In short the WLAN should be more secure and intelligent than the LAN but as simple to access and configure as plugging in a cable. We have highlighted some of the key benefits below:
- Reduced cost of ownership: While the initial investment required for wireless LAN hardware can be higher than the cost of wired LAN hardware, overall installation expenses and life-cycle costs can be significantly lower. Long-term cost benefits are greatest in dynamic environments requiring frequent moves and changes.
- Enterprise level wireless solutions provide businesses with the confidence that communications are secure. Only authenticated users and devices are able to connect to the WLAN providing control and ensuring security policies are applied to those users and devices.
Standards and Speeds
As the demand from users for wireless becomes greater so does the bandwidth required to serve those users. New standards such as 802.11ac are currently under development and will become the next standard for wireless networks. This new standard will offer gigabit speed (and above), improved performance, increased reliability and expand the range making this new standard very exciting and very important in the future to the design of wireless networks, although we’re not expecting to see this until 2013 even though there are some routers out on the market now that will support this.
Meraki Cloud based Management Solution
Meraki’s Cloud Networking architecture enables plug and play branch deployments and provides centralized visibility and control across any number of distributed locations.
Meraki is the industry’s first cloud managed solution for switching and managing Wireless Devices such as iPhones, iPads, combining the benefits of cloud-based centralized management with a powerful, reliable access platform.
With cloud management, thousands of switch ports can be configured and monitored instantly, over the web. Provision remote sites without on-site IT, deploy network-wide configuration changes, and easily manage campus and distributed networks without training or dedicated staff.