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Running head: PLANNING AND SETTING UP A LARGE WIRELESS NETWORK

Planning and Setting up a Large Wireless Network


Craig Clare
Bellevue University

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Abstract
This paper will discuss how to plan and set up a large wireless network.
Setting up a wireless network for todays large companies needs to be
planned and executed to keep documents safe and secure. More than ever
today, people are using wireless devices in the workplace and these numbers
are on the rise. Several different types of access points act as antennas to
move the data around the large businesses. These wireless networking
standards are set up by the IEEE. There are several different types of
security to protect these Wi-Fi networks.

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Planning and setting up a large wireless network

A large wireless network is often referred to as a large WLAN or a


wireless local area network. Large WLANs and WLANs in general, are
becoming a thing of the future for large companies because there are more
wireless devices, they are easier to set up, more cost effective, and can
produce more flexibility then wired networks. Due to the high demands of
WLANs, the IEEE has put in place standards to help regulate and outline how
a wireless network can be physically connected.
Planning and setting up a WLAN

There are several things that need to be considered when designing


and planning a WLAN. A good place to start is by finding out how many
clients or devices the network need to support. Another aspect is to find the
density at which the clients are located. There may be obstacles that
interfere with the wireless signal, and these may need additional equipment.
There are many different types of frequencies and bandwidths to account for
in the wireless network field. Because of this, different types of equipment
are built to support these varying frequencies. All of the equipment used on
a single frequency needs to be the same or compatible with each other.
Knowing what type of security measures the WLAN will be using will also
help in the planning phase.

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There can be a great benefit to good planning. A good way to start
planning the install of a WLAN is by talking to the company that is going to
hire you, and also to find out if they have any expectations about the kind of
network they want you to install. Believe it or not, some companies have
standards, above those set by the IEEE, which they want to have met. Some
companies may even have preferences to certain equipment manufactures
that they want be used specifically. By meeting with employees that work in
the IT department or company representatives for the potential client you
will be setting up the WLAN for, can be very beneficial for both parties
involved. This will help keep the lines of communication open between you
and your potential employer.
After meeting several times with the company you plan to install a
WLAN for, there should be an idea of what that company is looking to
achieve with their new network. Finding out what needs and expectations the
company has prior to installation, is always less expensive in the planning
phase. Before any equipment is purchased, lay out a future plan of the
WLAN. Get a blueprint of the building or infrastructure where the network is
to be installed, and use this blueprint to look for roadblocks or obstacles that
must be overcome.
At this point, you should know how many clients the WLAN needs to
support. You must have blueprints of where the wireless network needs to
reach, and also know where the existing network is currently located. The
existing network will let you know where the switches and routers are

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located and if more are needed. This equipment is essential for planning and
drawing out your WLAN because you will need to tie this system into the new
network.
Now the real planning begins. Use the blueprints to start planning out
where to install the new equipment you will be using to build your WLAN. It
is also essential to know where there is power to supply these devices at the
desired locations. This can be a big cost factor. Some companies have no
power at the point where it would be convenient to install a router or an
access point. In some of these cases there is an option of using a device that
uses PoE or power of Ethernet, these devices need no electrical power but
instead use Ethernet cable to power the device.
Next, it is time to start considering what type of devices to buy to get
the results that are needed. The types of devices that we will look at are
wireless routers, wireless LAN controllers, and wireless access points or
WAPs. A wireless router is a network device that passes wireless information
packets between computer networks. A wireless LAN controller is a device
that is used to manage wireless access points and handles the WAPs
configuration. A WAP is a device that allows a wireless device to connect to
a wired network. The main difference between a router and a WAP is that
the router can transmit data to an ISP, where a WAP cant.
Most large WLANs use WAPs to transmit the wireless signal to the
switch, server, or router. The WAP basically becomes an antenna to transmit

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the data from the clients or Wi-Fi devices to the WLAN. WAPs can either be
set up in repeater mode, which extends the range of the wireless signal, or
bridging mode, which connects a WAP to other WAPs. Most modern access
points can support up to 255 clients and provide bridging to other wired
networks (access point by Bradley Mitchell, 2015).
In some large WLANs, it would be useful to use a controller based
system. By adding a wireless controller to a group of WAPs, it adds the
benefit of having centralized control over your network. A controller also can
add security and coverage hole detection and correction. Load balancing
and interference detection and avoidance are also great features of a WAP
controller. Depending on the budget you have, a wireless controller is a very
handy piece of equipment that can simplify any operation.
Planning on the location of the WAP is important, where the WAP is
placed can make a big difference in the signal strength and range of
communication. Things to consider when physically placing WAPs in a
location is that obstacles might interfere with the signal. Because a WAP is
basically an antenna, it can pick up other devices that put out the same
frequency, or be disrupted by strong electrical fields. Other factors include
the height at which the WAP is placed. The weather can also affect the signal
if placed outdoors.
WAPs also have an approximate range set up by the device makers
and the IEEE 802.11 that state how far a WAPs range can be both indoors

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and outdoors. The IEEE 802.11ac released in December of 2013 states that
the approximate range for a WAP with a frequency of 5 GHz and regardless of
the bandwidth is 115 feet indoors. While the IEEE 802.11ad released in
December of 2012 gives us 200 feet indoors and 300 feet outdoors. With the
802.11ad standard, there is a much faster data transfer speed and
bandwidth at 60 GHz. This can help us plan how far apart we need to place
the WAPs. Make sure to read the devices specific manufactures
specifications sheet on location and placement as well.
Now that standards have come up, lets look at some of the standards
set up by the IEEE that need to be followed when setting up a wireless
network. The IEEE stands for the Institute of Electrical and Electronics
Engineers. The IEEE came up with a set of standards for implementing a
wireless network called IEEE 802.11. These standards very depending on
what type of frequency the network will be using. Make sure to follow them
when planning and setting up a wireless network.
There should now be enough information to get a plan ready to present
to the company for which you are building the WLAN for. This would include
a list of equipment needed, and an outline of estimated of costs associated
with the project. If they accept the proposal, you can contract out the work
of installing the WLAN components. If they dont, it is back to the drawing
board. Either way, it is time to move forward to the setting up phase.

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If the contractors did a great job installing all of the equipment that
was ordered for the WLAN, then we are in great shape and up and running
soon. If not, the network will be non-operational. If the equipment was
installed correctly and the plan was put together right, the network can be
tested and signal strength should be good. Assuming the latter was
performed, it would be wise to check connection at all points on the network.
Making sure there are no dead spots on the network is a must.
Security
Now that the wireless network is installed, it is time to install some
security measures to protect it. There are several ways to secure a WLAN. A
Wireless Intrusion Prevention System or WIPS, monitors the network for
unauthorized access points and blocks them from entering the network. A
firewall is a network security system that monitors incoming and outgoing
data in the network. Virtual private network or VPN is a security tool that
uses encryption as a way to send data over a WAN. Wi-Fi Protected Access
version 2 known as WPA2, encrypts the data with a 256-bit key.
Wireless networks have always been the prey of hackers. Some
common types of large WLAN security risks include accidental association,
malicious association, denial of service, and MAC spoofing. There are ways
to prevent these attacks with a properly implemented security prevention
system. Having an IT manager to help implement and keep up security
protocols will help too.

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Conclusion
There is a lot of time and effort that goes into planning and setting up
a WLAN is efficient, safe, and reliable. One of the biggest problems in the
planning phase is overlooking or missing an essential step in the design set
up of the WLAN. If something is missed it can throw off the entire project. If
the network is not installed correctly, the entire network will not function the
way it was planned or designed to. If the security of the network is
compromised, then the WLAN is no longer a safe and secure network for
information to be transferred over. That is why it is so important to be
diligent and precise when the planning and installation of the WLAN begins.

References
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