Buyer's Handbook:

Tools and tech to manage wireless network connections

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Managing wireless networks: How to address the key challenges

The connections that sustain a vast world of wireless networking are not as immediately visible as the miles of coax that snake through offices or the Cat5 connectors that still link desktop systems to the world, but they are there. And networking pros are charged with managing wireless networks, connections that rely on a substantial and still-evolving ecosystem of products and technologies to keep it all sorted out and working.

According to Dan Conde, an analyst at Enterprise Strategy Group, networking vendors still provide most of the tools needed to oversee these connections, along with a few from third parties.

At present, the software for managing wireless networks generally includes products for managing the network components of enterprise infrastructures, says Nolan Greene, an analyst at IDC. Typically, these products focus on two categories: network performance management and network operations management.

Fortuitously, the products within the realm of wired network management will increasingly integrate with cross-domain infrastructure management tools such as service desks, application management, systems management and business dashboards across multiple platforms and topologies. That includes data; voice; video; traditional networks; and, somewhere down the list, wireless networks.

Of course, that makes sense. Many of the same elements and concerns that are important to wired network management are also important to wireless, among them application performance management; application, user and device visibility; and root cause analysis.

Managing wireless networks also includes understanding network configuration products that manage, control and keep track of changes to the network infrastructure. At the same time, network availability is monitored through systems that collect and correlate events, service levels, alarms, response time and performance.

Organizations need to stay abreast of the latest networking products and technologies that keep their connections functioning. It's a rapidly changing market and we hope this buyer's handbook will help you make sense of all the options available.