Branch Office Deployment Considerations Part 2
Consideration Factors in a WLAN network design
Once the requirements have been clearly articulated, the next phase is the selection of the WLAN vendor whose products will be able to satisfy the above requirements. The WLAN network design for a branch office has to take into consideration the following factors:
- Ease of deployment and provisioning – Once the planning is done, the configuration of the wireless access points has to be easy, especially if this is a multi-site deployment. This can be supported by a network management and provisioning system or by scripts provided by the vendor.
- Operational simplicity – This is important to maintain low operational cost. Corporations are not inclined to spend a large chunk of their budget on administrative costs. Operational maintenance of network with scheduled upgrades should be an integral part of the WLAN offering.
- Integrated infrastructure – As the number of branches increases, it is desirable that the network design be repeatable consistently across the different branch offices. This reduces operational cost and results in fewer support issues due to inconsistent design.
- Future expansion – The current design should account for future expansion as the branch grows. The WLAN network should have the capability to provide for a network expansion without a huge forklift upgrade.
- Network management – Managing several remote branch sites can be both expensive and technically challenging. The WLAN vendor should provide a solution that integrates manageability for the wired as well as wireless network at the branch. Monitoring and statistics collection has to be visible from a single network management interface.
Cost is a primary factor in choosing the WLAN equipment. Deciding on some key requirements and aligning them with the company’s security policies are important for a successful branch deployment.
As the requirements for branch offices have evolved, the WLAN networks also have to evolve to satisfy these requirements. With the introduction of mobile devices and applications that run on these devices, the complexity of designing these networks has also increased. Following a checklist of requirements will help in choosing the right WLAN vendor for the network.