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Installation & Deployment of Wireless LANs

Network Compatibility
Each Wireless LAN implementation may offer different wireless parameters. Having those parameters in mind will allow tuning of the PC card for specific environments and configurations. Keep in mind that most products communicate only with products from the same vendor.

Because corporate customers require an established unique standard, most of the vendors have joined the IEEE in an effort to create a standard for radio LANs. However, with Ethernet and the technology being brand new, some products may not communicate with other products. Check carefully with your vendor before purchasing equipment.

A good rule of thumb is to research as much as you can about wireless before installation and implementation. Most Wireless LAN vendors offer products with an Ethernet interface.

Wireless LAN is easy to install. A wireless LAN simplifies many of the installation and configuration issues that cause problems for network managers. Since only the access points require cabling, network managers are freed from the task of connecting cables for end users. Moving, adding, and changing cables becomes unnecessary. Finally, the portability of a wireless LAN lets network managers pre-configure and troubleshoot entire networks before installing them at remote locations. Once configured, a wireless LAN can be moved from place to place with little or no extra modification. A wireless LAN system does requires a driver and software to interface to the hardware. Ensure that the driver knows about the specific hardware details and the specific operating system ways. Compile your driver to specify the details about it to your system.

Deploying your Wireless LAN
From a network administrator point of view, Wireless LANs are shared. If on a cable you know who is there, anybody and anything can use the radio band. Otherwise, you must specify network identifiers. Networks using different network identifiers still share the bandwidth, but are logically separate and don't interfere with each other.

To try to separate everyone out there, most products define a network identifier. This is a number or character string which is used to identify all the users wanting to be on the same logical network.

Distinct channels (i.e., frequencies, or hopping patterns) are necessary. Users on distinct channels use a different part of the bandwidth in order to not interfere with each other. If you want to install multiple independent networks in the same area, this is the way to go.

The Wireless LAN has only a limited range, so you may reach only devices within that range. This is usually why you should define some cells where everybody is in range. If you want those cells to communicate or a node to move across cells, you should install an access point in each of those and configure those with the same network identifier (and also add an Ethernet segment between the access points).

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