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Wireless LAN in companies, a luxury or a must-have?

Sep 6, 2016

wlanFor some companies the question arises whether it is worth having wireless LAN in the company. Others are worried that a wireless LAN network could cause security risks and even attacks on IT systems could be easier.

For those who use tablet PCs in companies, wireless LAN is mandatory to provide Internet connectivity. Nevertheless, even standard notebooks become smaller and more and more manufacturers do without Ethernet connectivity on their devices. Anyone who absolutely needs an Ethernet connection is forced to have an additional adapter or a docking station.

Some companies have optimized their operation processes by using wireless LAN terminals. For example, retailers or logistics companies who do their order picking via Wi-Fi barcode scanners, which saves them time and money. Also hospitals who store patients’ records digitally and enable doctors’ on their rounds to have access to these records via tablet PCs. This simplifies the process of having the necessary documentation able. In restaurants, a seamless wireless LAN is already mandatory for taking customers’ orders at the tables and sending them to the kitchen. In this way, distances covered by the service staff are reduced, each waiter or waitress can take more orders without reducing the service quality. Moreover, even in the office, wireless LAN makes everyday life much easier, you can check your emails, for instance, during meetings.

In almost all applications, it is essential to have a seamless wireless LAN in all areas or rooms of the company to ensure a smooth operation. However, in order to guarantee a network without any interruptions or disturbances, it is mandatory to constantly monitor availability and performance. Therefore, only wireless LAN systems that have a corresponding management application included, should be considered. Consumer wireless LAN products are not well-suited for companies who want to use their wireless LAN for business reasons.

Are WLAN Wireless networks secure?

Some IT managers are still concerned about IT security in wireless networks but the days when data transmitted via wireless LAN could be read by unauthorized people are long past. WPA2 PSK and WPA2 Enterprise provide sufficient protection. Nevertheless, each wireless LAN does have weak points, especially because the radio network can be seen beyond the company. In this case, a professional wireless LAN management system has all the necessary functionalities in order to defeat such attacks. Besides, a wired network can also be attacked. For instance, open accessible Ethernet sockets for the internal network in meeting rooms and unencrypted switches are both security holes which enable industrial spies to access business data via mirror ports. Nevertheless, today’s industrial espionage is more likely to be carried out by Pishing emails in order to install Trojans or similar malware.

WLAN and cost efficiency

Let us have a closer look at the costs. A company who needs wireless LAN besides Ethernet wiring, could face additional costs. However, in case of a relocation or a company start-up, a company can even save on installation costs by switching PCs, notebooks and tablet PCs to the wireless LAN and keeping only printers and access points on the wired network. By using modern 802.11ac technology, one single access point can provide a high-performance connection for 10 to 20 work stations without any problem.

Coming back to the initial question, we come to the conclusion that wireless LAN in companies is now well established and has become a crucial part of IT systems. It has become a business-critical element which many companies cannot do without.

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