The wireless network has become an essential component of the IT infrastructure. Once considered a “nice-to-have” technology, it now supports ever-increasing numbers of mobile users and Internet of Things (IoT) devices. High levels of performance, availability and security are required. That means growing headaches for administrators who must manage large and highly complex wireless networks.
Wireless LANs are more difficult to support than their wired counterparts. On top of the myriad factors that can impact network health and performance, WLAN administrators have to worry about radio frequency (RF) interference. That’s because 802.11 Wi-Fi networks operate in the 2.4GHz and 5 GHz frequency bands — the same unlicensed spectrum that zillions of other devices use.
The WLAN is competing with cordless headsets and phones, wireless keyboards, mice and video cameras, and Bluetooth devices. There is also a growing array of sensors and building automation devices that use Z-Wave, ZigBee and other M2M (machine-to-machine) protocols. Poorly shielded microwave ovens and some newer fluorescent lights also emit radio waves in the 2.4GHz frequency.In a growing number of environments, the airspace also is saturated due to interference from nearby WLANs.
If all that weren’t enough, the dynamic nature of Wi-Fi adds to the complexity of managing and maintaining the WLAN. The devices accessing the network and the applications being used are constantly changing, and the issues affecting network performance and security are changing almost as quickly. How can administrators identify much less troubleshoot these issues?
These challenges only grow as use cases expand and Wi-Fi demand increases. The IT support staffs in many organizations are already being spread too thin and may not have expertise in the latest Wi-Fi solutions. How will IT provide adequate support for the sheer number of users and user devices, and ensure a high-quality user experience?
Managing and maintaining a wireless network without constantly adding staff requires a centralized wireless network management solution. These cloud-based tools provide the following core functionality:
- Automatically find, identify and track access points and controllers across the network.
- Centrally configure and manage all access points and network devices from a single console.
- Monitor network performance and the activity of each network user and device in real time.
- Identify rogue access points connected to the network.
- Automatically diagnose network issues and alert IT.
- Track and report trends for the purpose of long-term planning.
- Provide visibility and location tracking of users and analyze those wireless environments.
Conventional network management practices require that administrators manually configure, monitor and troubleshoot individual devices. As the number of network nodes increases, the risk of human error also increases dramatically.
With cloud-based network management, one engineer can administer thousands of devices across the entire organization, anywhere in the world, from a single dashboard. The cloud also provides increased flexibility and faster access to new feature releases. As a bonus, cloud-based tools don’t come with the cost and complexity of controller appliances or overlay management software.
If wireless connectivity is critical to your business, you can benefit from centralized, cloud-based network management. Let SageNet show you how a managed wireless LAN increases efficiency, minimizes risk and enhances the user experience.