The overuse of the phrase “Enterprise Mobility” has made it vague. Anything that deals with how an enterprise functions, qualifies as an enterprise mobility solution these days.
The phrase shouldn’t be defined in such a loose manner. The core areas pertaining to enterprise mobility should be separated from the non-core ones. Some core areas are networking, connectivity and security of data. No enterprise, be it small or big, can compromise on these areas because its mobility heavily depends on them.
WiFi leverages many aspects of enterprise mobility. WiFi solutions that come from third-party vendors are holistic and more than equipped to reduce network downtime and increase connection security.
The operating frequency for 802.11b/g/n wireless standard is a 2.4-GHz band. When a WLAN is designed for an enterprise, special attention is given to RF cell coverage because overlapping RF cell coverage offers smooth roaming.
But RF interference can deteriorate the WiFi performance. There are ways to make sure the overlapping coverage cells don’t have overlapping frequency space. One way to make sure of that is using channels that don’t share frequency space.
Choosing the right channels is essential. In the U.S., there are three such channels, which are 1, 6, and 11. If three or more access points are being set up to provide wireless connectivity to an enterprise premise, the three non-overlapping channels are to be used.
RADIUS Server and Fat APs
The fat access points and RADIUS server have a commonality. Small businesses feel reluctant to harness them. The problem with fat APs is they are outrageously expensive. Their advantages are colossal, though. Speedy access and secure connection are two such advantages.
The fat access points operate independently, which eliminates the need to consult with a centralized authentication controller for security reasons.
Since small businesses often have a shoestring operational budget, they need to take time and decide whether they are going to spend the money for marketing purpose or for improving their wireless connection. As for RADIUS server, small businesses often come across daunted to pay for it. One reason behind their hesitation is being unable to rent it.
However, there are low-cost RADIUS servers, custom-built for SMBs. Such servers don’t come with features galore, but being a small business, you’d get what you are paying for.
Setting up a RADIUS server requires a decent level of technical expertise, which small businesses don’t always have or couldn’t pay and hire. But there are ample resources all over the web and studying those resources help a small business owner set up a RADIUS server.
WPA2 Enterprise Security
Despite the fact that it’s vulnerable to threats, wired equivalent privacy (WEP) is still in use. But small businesses are strongly recommended to do away with such outdated security standards and embrace new and more efficient standards.
WPA2 can come to their rescue. Activating WPA2-Personal on a wireless router is less difficult compared to setting up WPA2 enterprise mode. The benefit of enterprise level WPA2 is it eliminates universal passphrase and assigns each WiFi user a separate username and a password.
Other than assigning different login credentials to different users, the enterprise WPA2 also assigns unique encryption keys to them. This prevents one user from capturing another’s password or hijack another’s account.
One problem that comes with WPA2 enterprise mode is the need for a RADIUS server. We have already discussed the shortcomings faced by small businesses at the time of installing such a server. What they can do to bypass installing a server is pay for a hosted service that comes with APs and built-in RADIUS server.
By eliminating the common mistakes, a small business owner can give its enterprise mobility a boost. A small business should never assume anything regarding deployment plan, access point configuration and site inspection.
When it comes to inspecting a site, small business owners often assume there’s nothing wrong with the blueprints of the building. Another mistake is being unable to identify all possible sources of interference.
The key mistake related to deployment is opting for coverage-based WLAN design alone. Coverage and capacity-based WLAN both should be taken into consideration.
Another mistake is deployment with bereft cell overlap. Identifying these mistakes and doing away with them is essential for every small business to make their enterprise mobility solutions more efficient.
Wireless networking standards are constantly evolving, which means more innovative features on the cards. Small businesses need to keep their vigil eyes open, so they could recognize those features and use them for better enterprise mobility.
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