Identifying infrastructure connectivity and power requirements

Infrastructure Connectivity

  • Ask the correct questions so that the WLAN will integrate properly into the existing wired architecture.
  • Asking for a copy of the wired network topology map is highly recommended.
  • Sign a nondisclosure agreement

Understanding the existing topology will also be of help when planning WLAN segmentation and security proposals and recommendations:

  • Roaming
    • Is roaming required?
    • In most cases, the answer will be yes
    • Providing for secure seamless roaming is pretty much an afterthought.
    • It should also be understood that there might be certain areas where the WLAN was designed so that roaming is a very low priority, such as areas with a high density of users. For example, a gymnasium filled with 800 people might have APs on the ceiling with MIMO patch antennas to provide for unidirectional sectorized coverage. This is a WLAN design with high density as the priority, as opposed to mobility and roaming.
    • Another important roaming consideration is whether users will need to roam across layer 3 boundaries. A Mobile IP solution or a proprietary layer 3 roaming solution will be needed if client stations need to roam across subnets. Special consideration has to be given to roaming with VoWiFi devices because of the issues that can arise from network latency.
    • With regard to the existing network, it is imperative that you determine whether the wired  network infrastructure will support all the new wireless features (i.e. switches support Vlans).
  • Wiring Closets 
    • Where are the wiring closets located?
    • Will the locations that are being considered for AP installation be within a 100-meter (328-foot) cable drop from the wiring closets?
  • Antenna Structure
    • If an outdoor network or point-to-point bridging application is requested, some additional structure might have to be built to mount the antennas.
    • Asking for building diagrams of the roof to locate structural beams and existing roof penetrations is a good idea.
    • Depending on the weight of the installation, you may also need to consult a structural engineer.
  • Switches
    • Will the access points be connected by category 5 (CAT5) cabling to unmanaged switches or managed switches?
    • CAT5e or higher grade cabling is usually needed to maximize 802.3af PoE.
    • Are there enough switch ports?
    • What is the power budget of the switch?
    • Who will be responsible for configuring the VLANs?
  • PoE
    • How will the access points be powered?
    • PoE solution is compliant with 802.3af or 802.3at (PoE Plus)?
  • Segmentation
    • How will the WLAN and/or users of the WLAN be segmented from the wired network?
    • Will VLANs be used, and is a guest VLAN necessary?
    • Will firewalls or VPNs be used for segmentation?
    • Will the wireless network be a natural extension to the wired network and follow the same wiring, VLAN numbering, and design schemes as the wired infrastructure?
  • Naming Convention
    • Does the customer already have a naming convention for cabling and network infrastructure equipment, and will one need to be created for the WLAN?
  • User Management
    • Considerations regarding RBAC, bandwidth throttling, and load balancing should be discussed.
    • Do they have an existing RADIUS server or does one need to be installed?
    • What type of LDAP user database is being used?
    • Where will usernames and passwords be stored?
    • Will usernames and passwords be used for authentication, or will they be using client certificates
    • Will guest user access be provided?
  • Device Management
    • Will employees be allowed to access the WLAN with their own personal devices?
    • How will personal and company-issued mobile devices be managed?
    • Do they want to provide different levels of access based upon device type, such as, for example, smartphone, tablet, personal laptop, or corporate laptop?
  • Infrastructure Management
    • How will the WLAN remote access points be managed?
    • Is a central management solution a requirement?
    • Will devices be managed using SSH2, SNMP, or HTTP/HTTPS?
    • Do they have standard credentials that they would like to use to access these management interfaces?

 

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