Best Practices: Make Wired Upgrades before Integrating Wireless

Wireless has a number of benefits and, thankfully, it removes the hassle of pulling cable to offices and cubicles. In this Search Networking How-to guide, Lisa Phifer offers a number of suggests that businesses should Identify and plan network infrastructure updates to address wireless access and backhaul links, traffic flows and loads to help any wireless network integration go more smoothly.

“Before transitioning from wired to wireless network access, estimate the traffic load that high-throughput 802.11n APs and new mobile applications will impose upon wired and wireless backhaul links, distribution and core-layer LAN switches, and inter-office routers and firewalls. Predict current and future traffic loads, not just from the wireless access layer to the wired distribution/core but also between wireless clients. Use this traffic load analysis to identify potential bottlenecks that may require capacity upgrades.

“For example, a contemporary 802.11n AP is capable of supporting data rates up to 450 Mbps. If fully utilized, a dual-radio AP could forward 2 x 300 Mbps = 600 Mbps across its backhaul link to a distribution layer switch. This clearly exceeds the forwarding capacity of 100 Mbps Fast Ethernet, requiring either 802.11n wireless or Gigabit Ethernet backhaul. However, those 802.11n APs may not be fully utilized at first. Legacy and distant wireless clients operate at slower data rates, and total load depends on client density and application mix. These factors must be identified and combined to analyze whether and when backhaul links and aggregation devices will become saturated.”

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