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WiFi instead of CAT for entwork LAN link

Posted on 2009-05-18
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Last Modified: 2012-05-07
My Management have decided to re structure our office space and as a result the question should we use WiFi on our LAN instead of CAT cabling has been asked

Managements reasoning is that it is expensive but more importantly we may only be at this location for another two years. I have no desire to move to WiFi; however I want to ensure I am being fair. My main concern is security.

1. Not Secure
a. WiFi signal moves out of the building
b. Always on
c. High Administration and Monitoring
d. Potential threats have as much time and attempts as needed to gain access to the LAN
e. WiFi NIC MAC (like LAN NIC) can be easily faked

2. Workstation registering on the network issue
a. Workstations do not get to register with domain controllers prior to staff logging on.

3. Cost involved
a. Man hours
b. USB WiFi NIC cards for existing workstations
c. Learning Curve for IT and Staff
d. Time

4. Slower Connections
a. The plan has always been to move with GB Ethernet for 3D cad and Designs
b. This will be a step backwards

5. Building materials
a. Building has had major problems transferring our no frills WiFi signal
b. Iron beams and thick bricks are a problem

We have a Server 2003 and XP Workstation network.

I want to ensure my reasoning is based in reality and my views are current with todays technology. Feel free to correct me on any or all points. All input appreciated.

Thanks

Aalborg
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Question by:AI-SYD
4 Comments
 
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by:tony_angelopoulos
tony_angelopoulos earned 100 total points
ID: 24418408
Everything looks good, but I'm not sure that #3 is completely accurate.  If you are having problems with access because of #5, you could add that more access points would need to be wired in to adequately cover the building.  In that case, you are adding hard wired components anyway, and more/better access points do tend to cost quite a bit of money
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by:
jaydee-cdgp earned 400 total points
ID: 24418423
1. Not Secure - Not much of an issue now that we have WPA-PSK or even WEP

a. WiFi signal moves out of the building  - True, but with proper security implementation, this is not much of a concern

b. Always on - again, as above

c. High Administration and Monitoring - Is this monitoring as far as hacking and free riders are concerned?  Administration - there shouldn't be much.  Just set and leave it providing #1 is met.

d. Potential threats have as much time and attempts as needed to gain access to the LAN - True
e. WiFi NIC MAC (like LAN NIC) can be easily faked - They must really want to get to your network to get this far.

2. Workstation registering on the network issue - If they cannot connect because of proper security implementation, it shouldn't get this far.
a. Workstations do not get to register with domain controllers prior to staff logging on. - Not sure what you mean here.

3. Cost involved - Laying cables is certainly more expensive, especially when you want GB
a. Man hours - less for wireless setup and installation
b. USB WiFi NIC cards for existing workstations - not that expensive these days
c. Learning Curve for IT and Staff - This I believe is where it will go up.  Wireless connection do fail once in awhile.  Users may have to reconnect.
d. Time - setup wise, Wireless is less

4. Slower Connections - Now this is where I would put my money on.  Wireless is definitely slllooowww compared to a GB Ethernet.
a. The plan has always been to move with GB Ethernet for 3D cad and Designs - This is what I would use to win the GB Ethernet over Wireless
b. This will be a step backwards - Speed wise, yes

5. Building materials - It will all come down to performance.  These conditions certainly doesn't help the Wireless

You might want to include:
* USER LIMITATION - apart from number of users that can connect at one time, the more the users on your wireless, the slower it can get - again Performance

* Reliability - from experience, I have replaced more Wireless routers/repeaters/APs than wired switches/hubs

* Your users picking up more wireless networks and trying to connect to the wrong one.

* The time you have to spend resolving network problems.

I'm with you all the way, wired is better.
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Author Comment

by:AI-SYD
ID: 24418555
Thanks for the information. keep an eye out over the next week for my potential questions on best practice for WiFi
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Expert Comment

by:inbox788
ID: 24418621
I'd go for both! A wired network is still needed in my view and probably less expensive than wireless taking into account reliability, troubleshooting, downtime, and support. However, wireless is very convinient for some uses. Since you mentioned 24 months, it makes sense to wire up. Anything more than 6-12 months would be partly wired my my view. A lot depends on the number of users, the area and characteristics for wireless transmission.  How secure/confidential the network needs to be. And of course the performance requirements. Overall, the costs per person  or workstation per day of one or two dollars shouldn't matter in the grander scheme.


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