Selecting Wireless Access Points For The Enterprise

The humble wireless access point is a workhorse of today's enterprise network. See how models from Cisco, HP, Aruba, Aerohive, Xirrus, and Ruckus compare.

10 Slides

Wireless access has changed the workplace dramatically in just a few short years. And if you're building out or upgrading access networks, you very easily could be using only wireless access points (APs) connecting to a wired backbone.

So it's crucial that the APs you select do the job you need. The AP acts as a central transmitter and receiver of wireless radio signals, which then usually connects to a hub, switch, or router via a wired network -– at least somewhere down the line. There are different types of APs with differing radios, antennas, and performance rates, so you'll need to do your homework.

The predominant WiFi standard now in the market is IEEE 802.11ac, which brought several improvements over its predecessor, 802.11n. However, many businesses have 802.11n APs in service and are slowly upgrading to the newer standard. Major benefits of 802.11ac include:

  • Support for data rates up to 1.3 Gbps per radio, with improved link efficiencies

  • Support for dense amplitude modulation of 256 QAM

  • Transmission at 5-GHz frequencies with beam-forming capability.

In addition to carpeted office environments, wireless LAN connectivity and access points are gaining in popularity in many locations where they serve specific purposes, such as:

  • Distributed or branch office locations: Secure wireless access to corporate resources improves productivity, reduces switch port and cabling costs, and brings branch offices online inexpensively.

  • Campus: Wireless communications enhance parent-teacher communication and campus-wide school safety while easily addressing classroom connectivity requirements.

  • Healthcare: Wi-Fi enables fast access to electronic patient records, improves staff communication, and speeds up delivery of medical images.

  • Retail: Wireless access allows customized service closer to the customer. Retail analytics included in access points and sensors also enable retailers to gain insight into customer experiences and deliver marketing promotions.

  • Manufacturing and distribution: Wireless enables distributed communications in a multiple geographically distributed sites that require accurate inventory to function.

Are you in need of wireless connectivity? Our report examines a selection of access points from major vendors to help you find the right APs to keep your network humming along.

Learn best practices and strategies for building and managing an enterprise network in the Networking Track at Interop Las Vegas, May 2-6. Don't miss out -- register now!

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