This week I will be talking about implementing a wireless network. Several weeks ago we talked about all-in-one devices that have WI-Fi built into the router. Today we will be talking about implementing a wireless network where the Access Points are separate from the router and spread through your office.
After analyzing our small and large office over the past weeks, we realized that placing the wireless access points at the center of our space was crucial. However, we found that a single access point was not enough to provide sufficient coverage in the large office. Deploying a wireless network in a bigger building can be challenging, especially when determining the number of access points needed and their optimal placement. For reference, we have included a comparison below of the large office with a single access point versus three access points.
As you can see, it is necessary to add additional access points to provide sufficient coverage throughout the entire space.
When buying an access point, it’s important to consider certain specs like the MIMO and WiFi standards it supports. MIMOs (also known as Spatial Streams) are usually represented as ‘2×2 MIMO’ and refer to the maximum number of data streams the access point can handle simultaneously. The more spatial streams an access point supports, the better. High-end access points can support up to 8×8 spatial streams. Here is some more information about MIMOs
When buying an access point, the WiFi Standard is the second most important factor to consider. There are various generations of WiFi standards, the latest being Wi-Fi 6e, released in 2020. Each generation has brought about improvements in reliability, security, and speed over the previous one. It is recommended to choose access points that support at least Wi-Fi5 and are suitable for internet connections up to 500Mbps. Here is a detailed article about the different between Wi-Fi5 and Wi-Fi6.
To ensure the security of your wifi network, it’s crucial to ensure that your access point has various security features. Firstly, make sure that it can support a guest network to keep your primary network safe. It’s recommended to add multiple wireless networks to your access point, as per the NSA Best Practice #4, to prevent guests and IoT devices from accessing your secure network. When setting up your network, it’s essential to enable at least WPA2 or WPA3 security, which are the recommended security standards as per NSA Best Practice #3.
Many access points are compatible with PoE, which stands for power over ethernet. This means that your network switch can power the access point through the network cable. It’s important to consider the power consumption of each access point when buying a network switch. Here is some additional information about PoE.
Next week, I plan to review various wireless access points and compare their features. Additionally, I will examine wireless access points that are intended for long-range use and in-wall applications.