WiFi

[GSI]  |  Understanding the nature of WiFi, service needs & licensing costs (enterprise technology) 2015.2


 Intro

 

This document is about the deployment and use of WiFi technology in the businesses. The entire document is dedicated to the desire to make our clients informed about WiFi technology, with the highest goal that there would be no unpleasant surprises.


Enterprise equipment

We deploy only “enterprise”-level WIFI equipment. (We will support consumer-level WiFi equipment if our client has requested it, and it was deployed by another party.) We provide an operational definition of “enterprise” technology in saying that in our experience, consumer-level WiFi technology does not represent a reasonable quality for business-class expectations, nor does that equipment provide the features to combat regular issues of its nature, automatically or manually, nor is consumer-level equipment properly backed by the support needed for businesses. (Many of these concepts are covered below.) It is our expectation to avoid the bulk of such issues through the use of enterprise-level WiFi equipment, and our observation that the higher cost of enterprise-level WiFi equipment balances itself with a Return-On-Investment (ROI) that most businesses are looking for. Beyond the needed business features, it may even lower the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) for certain businesses over an attempt to use consumer-level WIFI in their environment. For all the brands of equipment we work with, our techs have been educated and the brands have been purposefully selected as equipment that we have seen work well over varying environments. Therefore we do not sell just any brand of WiFi equipment. Enterprise equipment varies amongst size of businesses, and we deal in entry-level solutions, as well as scalable.

Nature of WiFi

As an investor in WiFi hardware, you must be aware that WiFi technology is conducted upon Radio Frequency (RF) waves, and is of a much less predictable nature than that of Ethernet cabling (wired networking), in that while it is tremendously useful, it is subject to interference from a number of sources. It is of such a nature, that while, with experience, we can estimate how it will function after implementation, no one can make any guarantees about how it will function. In most cases, experienced installers can plan for and provide reasonable quality, with “enterprise” equipment, at the time of deployment, but the RF environment can change, with no warning, since it is based on the actions and changes submitted by uncontrollable forces, such as people, machines, and even equipment similar to your own WiFi devices. By definition, the advanced function and management ability of “enterprise” WiFi provides the best possible features for your equipment to help itself function well, and provide our technicians with the information to quickly respond to the needs of your network equipment, in (potentially, newly) troubled RF-environments. (In many cases, some environments may provide consumer-level equipment little to no hope at all.) While enterprise-level equipment provides the best possibility of running on its own, at some point, maintenance may be needed, based on the changing nature of RF-environments. The amount or quantity of attention that is needed, varies greatly, based on the environment that your workplace is situated in, namely, the Radio Frequency emitting devices (power lines, wireless phones, microwave ovens, other WiFi networks, etc.), as well as the construction of your building (the material nature of the walls) in how it reflects or accepts RF-waves, and most often, in the unpredictable nature of other people/workplaces changing the RF-frequency of their WiFi networks. It is important to note that while you may acquire a WiFi framework in your business place, like many forms of information technology deployments (or even, machines such as cars), budgeting for ongoing maintenance is advisable if you want that framework to function effectively. Some WiFi systems now take into account the regular potential for the WiFi spectrum bands to shift, with self-optimizing features (for example, see Meraki, below). This system may not perfectly bridle the reality of taming waves, but it is a breakthrough in management. These systems tend to have a higher up-front or licensing costs, because they have dedicated radios that must constantly analyze the environment, and access servers data to help it reconfigure. For many environments, this is an advantage. And for others, it is a necessity.

Hardware changes

WiFi technology now services a higher number and varying frequency of different brands’ and manufacturers’ wireless network interface devices/cards (NICs) than ever before, when just wired technology. These many brands of  wireless NICs (contained on phones, laptop, tablets, etc.) are frequently being updated with driver updates/firmware, themselves, to respond to changes/advances/features in the technology industry. Your WiFi devices (access points/hosts) must keep with this too, with firmware updates. Sometimes they can be deployed automatically and sometimes, manually. This is another potential form of service of which we want to make you aware – without this attention, WiFi devices can have issues or cease to function.

Licensing (Enterprise)

Note your brand of selected WiFi equipment, and the differences in licensing :SonicPoint licensing (by SonicWALL / Dell) is available to provide a worry-free experience in the function of your workplace, once you are relying on WiFi technology, by providing:

firmware updates (which may be absolutely necessary to solve some problems)

technical support (which is not so much consumer-level, but like many provisions is meant to support your tech team, with up-to-the minute changes the manufacturer makes)

hardware warranty (provides worry-free state that your expensive hardware will be replaced without further costs from the manufacturer, should it cease to function.)

upper-layer security (while many of such device are or are connected to firewalls (lower-layer security), licensing provides the acquisition, management, and provisioning for anti-malware (anti-virus and anti-spyware) that works on a network-wide and gateway-level, providing a form of security that enhances what is installed on desktops, etc.

 NOTE:  SonicWall “management” tools are built-in and do not require specific licensing, except that prerequisite hardware is in place. SonicWALL/SonicPoint licensing is ultimately optional. Hardware will NOT cease to function if licensing lapses. Note the loss of benefits above without licensing.

* Separate (individual) forms of licensing can made available through SonicWall (Dell), providing choices of just small or all of the points above.

*SonicWALL provides many forms of hardware solutions that may or may not be available from other brands. Some SonicWALL hardware may interact and coexist with other brands/model. Ask us about specifics.

 

 

Meraki licensing (by Cisco) is available to provide a worry-free experience in the function of your workplace, once you are relying on WiFi technology, by providing:

firmware updates (which may be absolutely necessary to solve some problems)

technical support (which is not so much consumer-level, but like many provisions is meant to support your tech team, with up-to-the minute changes the manufacturer makes)

hardware warranty (provides worry-free state that your expensive hardware will be replaced without further costs from the manufacturer, should it cease to function.)

upper-layer security (while many of such device are or are connected to firewalls (lower-layer security), licensing provides the acquisition, management, and provisioning for anti-malware (anti-virus and anti-spyware) that works on a network-wide and gateway-level, providing a form of security that enhances what is installed on desktops, etc.

– management – Meraki provides special analytical management features that require the use of Meraki (Cisco) servers/services in the cloud (third-party cloud component of your private site), and provide ease in troubleshooting and management (in order to reduce IT support service costs through troubleshooting and travel, and improve times to bring trouble equipment back online)

– **self-optimizing** – new cloud-managed third radio dedicated to optimizing the RF environment and securing the airwaves.

 NOTE:  Meraki Licensing is a requirement of and ongoing cost of ownership Meraki equipment, based on the enhancements that are not possible without Meraki cloud services (third party servers). This management is one of the main features of Meraki. Meraki hardware will CEASE to function if licensing lapses. (Notification and grace periods are built in to the system.)

* Separate forms of licensing, in terms of features are NOT available with Meraki – the features above come as a package that is administrated as a whole through management consoles. Terms of time are available, providing discounts with longer time of licensing.

*Meraki provides many forms of hardware solutions that may or may not be available from other brands. Some Meraki hardware may interact and coexist with other brands/model. Ask us about specifics.

MORE Licensing info:  https://docs.meraki.com/display/kb/Meraki+Licensing+FAQ

 

Conclusion & Responsibilities

It is our desire that you understand your investment. If you desire to understand the nature of a wireless network better before or after deployment, feel free to ask us. Our team is experienced and equipped to provide service to wireless networks, and install them with varying levels of security, according to desire and need. It must be clear, that based on the nature of WIFI, it is not realistic to suggest that our service team can be held responsible for varying quality of WiFi functionality, or the service to improve or recover any lost quality in a wireless network ( why? — see Nature of WiFi, above). We are here to help you with the nature of WiFi, and get it and keep it working to your advantage. It is our mission to choose the best brand / implementation. While self-optimizing enterprise-class WiFi tends to be stable, occasional maintenance and further configuration may need to be done. This type of service would come at a billable service cost, which is an obligation upon the client, after deployment, and like many things should be considered and built-in to ongoing IT support. Most concerns that take place, on a day-to-day basis can be reasonably mitigated with the licensing provisions from the enterprise manufactures. Continual licensing basically provides all that your WiFi infrastructure will need during the lifetime of the equipment, and in many cases provides for that lifetime to be as long as you can possibly make it useful to you. The Godproxy Solutions Inc. team and its associates are continually upgrading our knowledge, and make best efforts to provide accurate and up-to-date information in this document – we do not directly receive compensation from the manufacturers listed here for publishing this document, and there is no obligation upon the manufacturers that would allow us to necessarily know and publish any change they make to this content.

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Godproxy Solutions Inc.
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