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\ul0\nosupersub\cf1\f2\fs48 10 tips for deploying new wireless access points
\par\pard\ql \li1439\sb276\sl-276\slmult0 \up0 \expndtw-5\charscalex100
\ul0\nosupersub\cf2\f3\fs24 By \ul0\nosupersub\cf3\f4\fs24 Brien Posey \par\pard\ql
\li1439\sb4\sl-276\slmult0 \up0 \expndtw-5\charscalex100
\ul0\nosupersub\cf2\f3\fs24 May 24, 2011, 7:23 AM PDT \par\pard\qj \li1439\sb0\sl-
260\slmult0 \par\pard\qj\li1439\ri506\sb38\sl-260\slmult0 \up0 \expndtw-
4\charscalex100 Takeaway: When you set up a wireless access point, certain basic
practices can help you avoid problems. \up0 \expndtw-5\charscalex100 Brien Posey
offers his advice for a successful deployment. \par\pard\qj \li1439\sb0\sl-
280\slmult0 \par\pard\qj\li1439\ri638\sb4\sl-280\slmult0 \up0 \expndtw-
4\charscalex100 Wireless hardware manufacturers have made the process of setting up
access points fairly painless, but \up0 \expndtw-4\charscalex100 there are still
some best practices you should follow. Here are a few pointers for anyone who is
about to \up0 \expndtw-5\charscalex100 deploy a new wireless access point.
\par\pard\ql \li1439\sb270\sl-414\slmult0 \up0 \expndtw0\charscalex95
\ul0\nosupersub\cf4\f5\fs36 1: Avoid placing access points near structural metal
\par\pard\ql \li1439\sb0\sl-276\slmult0 \par\pard\ql\li1439\sb4\sl-276\slmult0 \up0
\expndtw-4\charscalex100 \ul0\nosupersub\cf2\f3\fs24 When setting up a new wireless
access point, you should install it in a location that will be unlikely to
\par\pard\ql \li1439\ri508\sb5\sl-275\slmult0 \up0 \expndtw-4\charscalex100 cause
radio interference. I once had someone contact me because their wireless network
was not working \up0 \expndtw-4\charscalex100 correctly. When I asked them to show
me the access point, they led me into the warehouse where the \up0 \expndtw-
4\charscalex100 access point sat on top of a steel beam just beneath a metal roof.
The surrounding metal was interfering \up0 \expndtw-4\charscalex100 with the
signal. Moving the access point took care of the problem. Since that time, I have
always advised \up0 \expndtw-4\charscalex100 clients not to place access points in
close proximity to structural metal. \par\pard\ql \li1439\sb291\sl-414\slmult0 \up0
\expndtw0\charscalex95 \ul0\nosupersub\cf4\f5\fs36 2: Use Power over Ethernet when
necessary \par\pard\qj \li1439\sb0\sl-275\slmult0 \par\pard\qj\li1439\ri263\sb6\sl-
275\slmult0 \up0 \expndtw-4\charscalex100 \ul0\nosupersub\cf2\f3\fs24 Many
organizations like to place wireless access points on or near the ceiling in an
effort to help wireless \line \up0 \expndtw-4\charscalex100 clients achieve the
best possible range. But it can be difficult to get power to the access point.
Rather than \line \up0 \expndtw-4\charscalex100 rely on extension cords (as I have
occasionally seen done), consider using Power over Ethernet (PoE). PoE \line
\up0 \expndtw-4\charscalex100 provides the access point with power over unused
wires within an Ethernet cable. Special PoE modules at \line \up0 \expndtw-
4\charscalex100 each end of the cable ensure that networking hardware is not
exposed to the electricity the cable is carrying. \par\pard\ql \li1439\sb291\sl-
414\slmult0 \up0 \expndtw0\charscalex95 \ul0\nosupersub\cf4\f5\fs36 3: Reset the
access point password immediately \par\pard\ql \li1439\sb260\sl-276\slmult0 \up0
\expndtw-4\charscalex100 \ul0\nosupersub\cf2\f3\fs24 The first thing you should do
when setting up any new wireless access point is reset the access point\u8217?s
\par\pard\qj \li1439\ri513\sb1\sl-280\slmult0\fi0 \up0 \expndtw-4\charscalex100
internal password. Otherwise, the access point\u8217?s configuration interface will
be accessible to anyone who \up0 \expndtw-5\charscalex100 knows how to look up the
default password on the Internet. \par\pard\ql \li1439\sb290\sl-414\slmult0 \up0
\expndtw0\charscalex95 \ul0\nosupersub\cf4\f5\fs36 4: Avoid overlapping DHCP scopes
\par\pard\ql \li1439\sb260\sl-276\slmult0 \up0 \expndtw-4\charscalex100
\ul0\nosupersub\cf2\f3\fs24 I once ran into a situation in which an organization
purchased a second wireless access point to try to \par\pard\qj
\li1439\ri283\sb1\sl-280\slmult0\fi0 \up0 \expndtw-4\charscalex100 provide better
wireless coverage. An inexperienced technician was told to set it up just like the
other access \line \up0 \expndtw-4\charscalex100 point. The problem was that both
access points were configured with identical DHCP scopes. Fortunately, \line
\up0 \expndtw-4\charscalex100 the access points were smart enough to look for IP
address conflicts on the network before assigning any IP \line \up0 \expndtw-
4\charscalex100 leases. Otherwise, the overlapping DHCP scopes could have caused a
lot of problems for end users. \par\pard\ql \li1439\sb270\sl-414\slmult0 \up0
\expndtw0\charscalex95 \ul0\nosupersub\cf4\f5\fs36 5: Treat wireless connections as
insecure \par\pard\ql \li1439\sb0\sl-276\slmult0 \par\pard\ql\li1439\sb4\sl-
276\slmult0 \up0 \expndtw-4\charscalex100 \ul0\nosupersub\cf2\f3\fs24 One of the
big problems with wireless networks is that a person does not need physical access
to your \par\pard\qj \li1439\ri523\sb1\sl-280\slmult0 \up0 \expndtw-4\charscalex100
facility to connect to your network. As a result, wireless encryption is a must
\u8212? but I recommend taking \line \up0 \expndtw-4\charscalex100 security a step
further. Instead of automatically trusting anyone who manages to connect to your
wireless \line \up0 \expndtw-4\charscalex100 network, treat your wireless networks
as you would treat an Internet connection. Make wireless users

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4\charscalex100 \ul0\nosupersub\cf2\f3\fs24 authenticate through a VPN or a similar
mechanism before allowing them to access wired network \up0 \expndtw-
5\charscalex100 segments. \par\pard\ql \li1439\sb290\sl-414\slmult0 \up0
\expndtw0\charscalex95 \ul0\nosupersub\cf4\f5\fs36 6: Use meaningful SSIDs
\par\pard\ql \li1439\sb0\sl-276\slmult0 \par\pard\ql\li1439\sb4\sl-276\slmult0 \up0
\expndtw-4\charscalex100 \ul0\nosupersub\cf2\f3\fs24 Many IT pros recommend that
you do not broadcast your wireless access point\u8217?s SSID. However, it is
\par\pard\qj \li1439\ri299\sb0\sl-280\slmult0\fi0 \up0 \expndtw-4\charscalex100
fairly easy for a hacker to discover an SSID, even if it is not being broadcast. My
recommendation is to use \up0 \expndtw-4\charscalex100 meaningful SSID names. Users
who are connecting to your wireless network for the first time should never \up0
\expndtw-5\charscalex100 have to wonder if they are connecting to the right
network. \par\pard\ql \li1439\sb271\sl-414\slmult0 \up0 \expndtw0\charscalex95
\ul0\nosupersub\cf4\f5\fs36 7: Take advantage of built-in security features
\par\pard\qj \li1439\sb0\sl-275\slmult0 \par\pard\qj\li1439\ri384\sb6\sl-
275\slmult0\fi0 \up0 \expndtw-4\charscalex100 \ul0\nosupersub\cf2\f3\fs24 Even the
cheapest wireless access points come loaded with numerous security features. For
example, most \up0 \expndtw-4\charscalex100 access points will allow you to
restrict network access by MAC address. Some wireless access points also \up0
\expndtw-4\charscalex100 contain alerting mechanisms that can fire off an email
message if someone repeatedly attempts to connect \up0 \expndtw-4\charscalex100 to
your network using an incorrect pass phrase. Be sure you check out the security
features your wireless \up0 \expndtw-5\charscalex100 access point offers and enable
the ones that seem beneficial. \par\pard\ql \li1439\sb271\sl-414\slmult0 \up0
\expndtw0\charscalex95 \ul0\nosupersub\cf4\f5\fs36 8: Connect access points to a
UPS \par\pard\ql \li1439\ri419\sb277\sl-280\slmult0 \up0 \expndtw-
4\charscalex100 \ul0\nosupersub\cf2\f3\fs24 If I had to give one piece of advice to
a wireless network administrator, it would be to connect all wireless \line \up0
\expndtw-4\charscalex100 access points to backup batteries (UPSes). If the power
fails, wireless users will get knocked off the \line \up0 \expndtw-5\charscalex100
network. \par\pard\ql \li1439\sb0\sl-273\slmult0 \par\pard\ql\li1439\ri323\sb13\sl-
273\slmult0\fi0 \up0 \expndtw-4\charscalex100 To see why this is such a big deal,
forget about major power failures for a moment. Suppose that the power \up0
\expndtw-4\charscalex100 cuts out for only a second or two. That\u8217?s usually a
long enough to disconnect a wireless session. And since \up0 \expndtw-
4\charscalex100 a lot of the people who are using the wireless connection are doing
so from battery-powered laptops or \line \up0 \expndtw-4\charscalex100 mobile
devices, they could be completely oblivious to the power blip. Most wireless
hardware will \line \up0 \expndtw-4\charscalex100 automatically reestablish a lost
connection, but if you require users to authenticate prior to connecting to \up0
\expndtw-4\charscalex100 any backend network resources, they could be locked out
until they reauthenticate. This could lead to \line \up0 \expndtw-5\charscalex100
numerous help desk calls from confused users. \par\pard\ql \li1439\sb291\sl-
414\slmult0 \up0 \expndtw0\charscalex95 \ul0\nosupersub\cf4\f5\fs36 9: Adjust the
signal strength if possible \par\pard\ql \li1439\sb0\sl-273\slmult0
\par\pard\ql\li1439\ri272\sb10\sl-273\slmult0 \up0 \expndtw-4\charscalex100
\ul0\nosupersub\cf2\f3\fs24 Some wireless access points will allow you to adjust
the signal strength through a Web interface. While it \up0 \expndtw-4\charscalex100
is tempting to use the maximum signal strength, do you really need to broadcast a
wireless signal across the \up0 \expndtw-4\charscalex100 parking lot? Consider
where your wireless network boundaries should be and then adjust your signal
\line \up0 \expndtw-5\charscalex100 strength accordingly. \par\pard\ql
\li1439\sb291\sl-414\slmult0 \up0 \expndtw0\charscalex95
\ul0\nosupersub\cf4\f5\fs36 10: Take the time to fill out the warranty card
\par\pard\qj \li1439\sb0\sl-273\slmult0 \par\pard\qj\li1439\ri587\sb10\sl-
273\slmult0 \up0 \expndtw-4\charscalex100 \ul0\nosupersub\cf2\f3\fs24 It may seem
like a clich�, but take the time to fill out the warranty card that comes with your
new access \up0 \expndtw-4\charscalex100 point. Maybe it\u8217?s just bad luck, but
I haven\u8217?t had much success with access point longevity. My access \up0
\expndtw-4\charscalex100 points always seem to give out after six months to a year.
Filling out the warranty card has on occasion \up0 \expndtw-5\charscalex100 saved
me the expense of purchasing a new access point. \par\pard\qj \li1439\sb0\sl-
280\slmult0 \par\pard\qj\li1439\ri778\sb2\sl-280\slmult0 \up0 \expndtw-
4\charscalex100 Get IT Tips, news, and reviews delivered directly to your inbox by
subscribing to \ul0\nosupersub\cf3\f4\fs24 TechRepublic\u8217?s free \up0 \expndtw-
5\charscalex100 newsletters\ul0\nosupersub\cf2\f3\fs24 .

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