What can you do with todays centralized wireless networks
Components of today’s centralized wireless networks:<br />Wireless Access Points: Access points are placed at various locations to communicate with the backend wired network and wireless clients. A single Access Point can connect with multiple clients and they can have multiple radios and built-in antennas or external antennas.<br />Wireless Controllers: Wireless controllers are generally installed in a central location/ core switch in the data centre and it gives a centralized management interface for all the access points installed across multiple locations inside the campus as well as in remote sites. <br /> <br />Wireless Adaptors / Clients: Laptops come with built-in wireless adaptors to connect with wireless networks, PC’s can be wireless enabled by connecting external wireless adaptors, many cell phones/PDA’s come with built in wi-fi adaptors. Even IP Cameras, VoWLAN phones, MFP’s, Scanners etc come with built in wireless adaptors. <br /> <br /> <br />Why go for a Wireless Network today?<br />Wired Equivalent Performance: Today’s Wireless Networks come with the latest 802.11n Technology which gives a performance of 300 Mbps today and shortly upgradeable to 600 Mbps per access point. <br />Wider area coverage: 802.11n technology covers up to one and a half times the area covered by earlier wireless technologies, along with the higher throughput. <br />Lesser Cost: A centrally managed wireless network is any day cheaper than the wired network active/ passive components required for connecting the same number of computers. <br />Eliminating Clutter: The clutter due to the multiple cables connecting to the desktop/ passive components / structured networking etc. can be reduced drastically by implementing a wireless network.<br />Comfort: The wireless network can be accessed comfortably from any where in the campus, including lawns, cafeteria, conference hall etc. It is easier for any staff member to relocate, without the intervention of the IT department.<br /> <br /> <br />Why go for a controller based Centralized Wireless Network today?<br />Centralized Authentication: No more individual MAC address tables and updation in each access point, controller provides for a centralized authentication mechanism through individual username-password based Radius Server/ Active Directory/ LDAP Integration , centralized MAC address filtering or certificate/ shared key based authentication for all the clients from a central location. <br /> <br />Centralized Radio Management for all Access Points:<br /><ul><li>Interference Mitigation: Adjacent Access Points are always maintained to operate in different non-overlapping channels by the controller so that there is no loss of packets due to interference in a dense wireless network. </li></ul> <br /><ul><li>Load Balancing: The users are automatically shifted to adjacent access points if the load (number of users connecting) on one access point is high and the neighboring access point is lesser. </li></ul> <br /><ul><li>Radio Balancing: 802.11n enabled clients are connected to the 802.11n radios, 802.11a enabled clients are connected to 802.11a radios; 802.11b/g enabled clients are connected to 802.11b/g radios in a multi-radio enabled access point.
Failover: Clients are automatically shifted to neighboring access points if any access point suddenly fails, thereby introducing redundancy in the network. </li></ul> <br />RF Visualization:<br />Another advantage of today’s centralized wireless networks are the visualization capablities of the Controller. Once the Floor plan of the campus is integrated with the controller, the coverage pattern, signal strength, users associated in each access point and various parameters can be viewed LIVE over a PC monitor (through a web based application) sitting in a central location. This makes monitoring and trouble shooting of networks very easy. You can also locate any active Wireless client in the network map by just typing its MAC ID in the s/w.<br /> <br />Network Access Control based on User Identity:<br />With today’s centralized Controller based Wireless networks, wireless users can be further segregated in to sub-groups and each group can be given separate network access policies. For example, all the wireless users accessing the network from the finance department can be given SAP/ERP access while the sales department can be denied the same. Internet access for the junior management staff can be blocked and guests can be given temporary internet access without giving access to internal network. IT department and senior management can be given full unrestricted access to the network resources. Certain laptops/ wireless clients can even be blocked network access if they do not have the latest versions of the antivirus/ OS patch running on their systems. You thought all this is possible only with wired networks?? Not any more.<br /> <br />Security: After authentication, all the wireless packets are encrypted end to end using 128 bit encryption technology making it difficult for any casual intruders to get in to your network. <br />Wireless Intrusion Detection/ Prevention Systems (Where dedicated access points can act as scanners for wireless threats) can identify and block a whole range of wireless attacks like:<br /><ul><li>Ad-hoc network
Mis-association of AP/Client to other network access points
Denial of Service Attacks etc. </li></ul>Branch offices and remote offices are also protected as the controller can form a Secure VPN tunnel between the HO and branch locations. <br /> <br />Rogue Access Points and Laptop’s can be even located using location visualizers. <br />Mesh Connectivity:<br />Connect even the Access Points without Cables!!<br /> <br />Bandwidth Restriction per user/ per group:<br />You can prevent a few wireless users from clogging the entire network by restricting the bandwidth available to them at any point of time. You can also reserve a minimum bandwidth to all the critical users. <br />