Contemplating A New Wi-Fi Investment? Here Are the Key Technical Considerations

Mauro Rizzi
December 13, 2017

21 billion.That’s the number of Internet of Things (IoT) devices Gartner predicts will be in use worldwide by 2020.

Today’s enterprises are already challenged with the demands of bring-your-own-device (BYOD) and a large mobile workforce. The onslaught of IoT devices will only put increased pressure on the enterprise network.

To accommodate businesses in this piece of the digital transformation, we recently announced our Alcatel-Lucent OmniAccess® Stellar access points. Stellar access points use a controllerless architecture with distributed control intelligence providing more reliability, better scalability and reduced cost. It delivers a high-quality user experience leveraging the 802.11ac Wave 2 technology, for indoor and outdoor usage, with resiliency and security. Furthermore, it includes integrated guest management and built-in DPI that can be leveraged for smart analytics and to help better support Internet of Things devices.

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Recently, we shared how enterprise verticals can ensure critical devices remain connected with necessary speeds while all of the other mobile devices are connected to the network at the same time. Following, we take a look at the key technical considerations you’ll need when considering an investment in new Wi-Fi.

Distributed intelligence - Key to ensuring a consistently excellent user experiences, built-in intelligence in the access points ensures that the flow of traffic is fully aligned with needs of the individual users and the patterns of demand affecting each access point. A variety of factors combine to achieve this, including automatic, intelligent optimization, coordination among neighboring APs, band steering, smart load balancing, airtime fair access and self-healing APs.

Deployment optionsIn some instances, it may be appropriate to deploy smaller groups of APs in standalone clusters. In others, a fully managed deployment, with the option to scale in line with changing demand, will be required.

User onboarding - Ease of connection is a critical aspect of the user experience, especially for guest networks in the hospitality sector.

Bring your own device (BYOD) - Today’s employees expect to be able to connect their own devices to the network, especially those that use devices for both personal and work use. Policy enforcement is reliant on a management platform that can deal with the nuances and capabilities of different devices and operating systems.

The Internet of Things (IoT) - The management platform can incorporate established standards, such as Bonjour and Universal Plug and Play, to simplify the onboarding of IoT devices. As more and more areas of the organization recognize the possibilities of automation, it’s likely that there will be a rapid scaling of demand for more connections, making scalability a key consideration.

Automatic VLANs - Virtual LANs provide logical separation at layer 2 for Ethernet networks. This assures segregation and reduces the volume of traffic that needs to be routed. The Alcatel-Lucent OmniAccess Stellar access points in integration with Alcatel-Lucent OmniSwitch® family of LAN products, provides automated VLAN provisioning at the edge of the network simplifying deployment at scale.

Unified Access - Today’s users access the network from multiple devices, including their own smartphones and tablets. Unified access provides them with a single set of credentials that can grant them access to wireless or wired network with maximum security, regardless of the device they use to log in. Unified access helps to strengthen security, enforcing policies on every device that is used to connect to the network. And because it centralizes and automates identity management, it takes away another laborious task from the IT team.

Applications - The intelligence built into OmniAccess Stellar WLAN access points provides the ability to optimize application performance over the wireless network, in line with bandwidth requirements and user expectations.

Analytics - Every click on a connected device generates data that can help to shape management decisions. The way users work with applications, the patterns of traffic across a network, the peaks and troughs of demand – all these and many more factors contribute to a virtual picture of daily operations, and an indication of opportunities and challenges ahead.

For more information on the impact of digital transformation on enterprise networks, you can download our two new whitepapers, Wireless networks: Turning raw speed into great experiences and A WLAN for better productivity. And for more information on the benefits of the OmniAccess Stellar.

Mauro Rizzi

Mauro Rizzi

Network Business Development Director, Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise

Mauro joined ALE in 2009 to support the Central Mediterranean Countries with his presales skills and abilities. He then took the challenge to move to the position of business developer for the SEMEA region and visited quite a lot of customers around the globe and especially in Africa. Mauro is currently in charge of the development of the ALE networking business through the assistance and support in the roadmap definition and evolution. He supports the development of the marketing assets for inbound and outbound campaigns and special, dedicated programs meant to enable partners to be able to sell more and get more out of the solution proposed by Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise.

Mauro graduated as an Electronic Engineer from the University of Brescia and then achieved an MBA from University of Padua. Mauro Rizzi, 38, is a fitness and technology lover

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