Better, Faster WiFi In 7 Steps

The enterprise wireless LAN is now indispensable, and will be the basis of a host of new services in the next decade. Follow these guidelines to ensure your wireless network is robust today and tomorrow.

Lee Badman

June 8, 2015

8 Slides

Wireless has always been about getting users connected, and that hasn’t changed as we look at the WiFi networks coming our way over the next few years. But the underlying story is becoming huge on a scale none of us wireless architects could have imagined when we were installing 802.11b networks.  

Back then, design mattered but was certainly easier in retrospect. As 802.11ac Wave 2 casts its shadow over the wireless landscape, we’re at a place where the WLAN means far more than it ever did before. Business WiFi networks are only gaining in importance as enterprises continue to embrace -- and rely on --  the advantages that WLANs provide. At the same time, more robust wireless networking comes with increased complexity and a raft of concerns to consider to get it built, and to keep it running at maximum performance.

Networks are first and foremost about connecting devices and using applications. As more device types and applications find their ways into the wireless space, the quality of network design becomes paramount. The trend towards more and smaller high-bandwidth cells to accommodate increased device counts is fast becoming a religion in the enterprise. As 802.11ac Wave 1 gives way to Wave 2, and existing 11n environments transition to the highest performance possible with the latest standard, it’s worth noting that successful WiFi design doesn’t just simply happen when lots of APs and throngs of client devices are involved.

The WiFi environment has to be built well for everything that it will be obviously used for, and to allow for the unpredictable trickle of new client types and AP evolution as the WLAN stakes continue to rise. Cut corners or make poor choices along the way, and that top-end 802.11ac Wave 2 network you’re planning on building will certainly disappoint as you layer more services on a faulty foundation. 

Image: violetkaipa/iStockphoto


About the Author(s)

Lee Badman

Wireless Network Architect

Lee is a Certified Wireless Network Expert (CWNE #200) and Wireless Network Architect for a large private university. He has also taught classes on networking, wireless network administration, and wireless security. Lee's technical background includes 10 years in the US Air Force as an Electronic Warfare systems journeyman technician and Master Technical Training Instructor, and a stint in telecommunications in the private sector. Lee is an active Extra Class amateur radio operator (KI2K), and has a wide range of technical hobbies. He has helped organize and has presented at several higher education and industry conferences, and has done extensive freelance writing work for a number of IT, low voltage, and communications periodicals. Follow him on Twitter at @wirednot, and read his personal blog at

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