Essential Guide

This Essential Guide is a collection of articles, videos and other content selected by our editors to give you a comprehensive view of this topic.

Mapping your wireless local area network: How to make your WLAN shine

This guide offers advice on optimizing your WLAN performance and reliability

This essential guide addresses the basics of wireless local area network (WLAN) and examines the steps enterprises need to take to improve the performance and reliability of their existing -- and future -- WLAN infrastructures.


1. Maximizing the mobile workforce

We are living in the age of mobile workers -- employees who bring their own devices to work and expect to be able to use them while on the go. In this section of our guide, learn how to successfully support wireless local area network access even as the "bring your own device" (BYOD) phenomenon continues to grow.

  • WLAN troubleshooting for BYOD

    The BYOD era is upon us. Do you have a plan? Optimizing security is only half the battle when it comes to supporting a BYOD-tailored wireless LAN. The rest relies heavily on WLAN troubleshooting to guard against draining critical network assets. This feature details steps you can take to ensure you're practicing the most proactive BYOD WLAN troubleshooting tactics.


  • Provisioning WLAN access for BYOD takes combined tools

    IT shops lacking resources to manually configure hundreds of personal devices are put in a tough position. Asking users to "do it yourself" can lead to security breaches and other problems. It is possible to automate wireless LAN access provisioning for BYOD with the right tools -- and this tip can help.

    Expert Tip

  • Penn tackles WLAN access for 46,000 BYOD clients

    As thousands of new students and their devices arrive on campus each fall, large universities face a particular challenge in managing BYOD. At the University of Pennsylvania, administrators have to handle up to 46,000 clients and 20,000 concurrent connections. In this tip, learn how to integrate WLAN features with mobile device management tools.

    Expert tip

  • Creating a WLAN architecture for a mobile workforce

    To deploy a robust wireless local area network architecture, start by evaluating a range of WLAN access control technologies and edge designs. In this tip, learn about the basics of WLAN access control, the proprietary extensions vendors offer to differentiate their products and more.


  • Assessing the enterprise WLAN for the mobile workforce

    As the number of wireless devices and mobile workers continues to grow, does it make sense to run Ethernet to workspaces if employees are using mobile devices as their primary computing tools? Network engineers must reassess the business and technology needs behind building a distributed enterprise wireless LAN to support a mobile workforce.



2. Measuring your WLAN: What you need to know today

There is a lot to consider when it comes to evaluating WLAN approaches, and it's easy to be unsure about which route to take when optimizing your infrastructure and operations. In this section of our guide, we outline everything you need to know about different wireless local area networking options -- including basic requirements, Wi-Fi management, vendor selection and more.

  • Wireless LAN requirements to consider before buying

    When determining which WLAN option is best for your enterprise, start by assessing which wireless local area network requirements are necessary. Here's a five-step process to guide you as you begin your journey.


  • Myth busters: Cloud-managed wireless LAN

    New cloud-managed wireless LAN services have many users asking one question: Is Wi-Fi management as a service dependable? In this tip, wireless expert Lisa Phifer puts some myths to rest and uncovers what you should expect with cloud-managed WLANs.


  • Evaluating WLAN solutions: Questions for WLAN vendors

    After your company or organization has developed a mobility plan, it is critical to raise certain questions with WLAN vendors. This tip lists 10 questions every IT pro should ask before it is too late.


  • WLAN testing: From planning to documentation

    "Testing a Wireless LAN," from the book Designing and Deploying 802.11n Wireless Networks by Jim Geier, explores WLAN test planning and documentation. The chapter also addresses crucial testing methods for performance, security and signal coverage.

    Book Chapter


3. Transforming WLAN: What you need to know tomorrow

Just as the wireless industry continues to evolve, so does WLAN technology. Optimizing your infrastructure -- for application performance, video transport or to guard against unauthorized intrusions -- will mean more changes. In this section of the guide, learn about the future of WLAN and what an optimized network could look like.

  • Benefits of WLAN as the primary access network

    Many companies are examining the advantage of using their WLAN infrastructures as their primary access network, but those benefits will vary by industry. Correctly understanding the gains you might realize is critical. Here is what you need to know.


  • WPS attack precautions: Avoid unauthorized WLAN access

    WLAN administrators must take certain precautions to protect their networks from Wi-Fi Protected Setup attack tools. In this expert response, wireless expert Lisa Phifer shares her advice on how to achieve complete network protection.


  • Optimizing network performance for WLAN applications

    Maximizing your WLAN means you need to upgrade your network infrastructure. Among other requirements, you will have to be ready to support real-time applications over a wireless connection. This tip explains strategies to support these types of applications while optimizing network performance.


  • WLAN design for the best wireless video delivery

    Wi-Fi video can tax networks, so engineers need to use a variety of design tactics to bolster video delivery and thus avoid performance degradation. In this tip, learn about design options that increase the reliability of video delivered over WLAN.

    Expert tip

  • Ensuring WLAN performance optimization

    To ensure top performance, it's important to not only deploy WLAN measurement and testing tools, but to use those tools on a regular basis to monitor network behavior. Learn more about WLAN optimization tactics and why there is so much fuss over periodic testing.


  • Learn the basics of enterprise wireless standards

    The various standards and protocols that support enterprise-class wireless deployments differ greatly from the inexpensive home router. This article teaches the fundamentals that govern WLAN and Wi-Fi performance.


  • New standards increase enterprise WLAN capacity

    The new 802.11ac and 802.11ad standards enable admins to greatly increase enterprise WLAN capacity and throughput. See what kind of benefits you can expect from these newly minted protocols.



4. WLAN definitions

Check out these definitions to deepen your understanding of wireless local area networks.