Is wireless networking for a small business recommended?

Discussion in 'Computers' started by Mark Giles, Nov 10, 2005.

  1. Mark Giles

    Mark Giles Second Unit

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    I created a thread a few weeks ago about remote networking here. Come to find out, all computers are going to just be in one building so the VPN might not be necessary. Another issue I'm coming across is the layout of the building. It's a large office with 3 rooms (where the computers will be) on opposite sides of the room. It's a wiring nightmare!! No way to go up in the ceiling so I looking back at going wireless. Is it a bad idea to go this route? I heard and read WEP is easily crackable, so is there anything else that's better these days? What is the most secure way to go wireless for long term use?
     
  2. SethH

    SethH Cinematographer

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    Get 802.11g products that will have support for WPA. WPA is much stronger than WEP, although it is still vulnerable. If you aren't going to have too many computer, you can also enable MAC address filtering as another layer of security, and you can also turn off the SSID broadcast (or at least change the default SSID). Also make sure you change the default admin password on the wireless router . . . that's one of the most common wireless security mistakes.

    I think it's fine to go wireless with a small business. Also, keep your eyes open for 802.11i-compliant products in the future which will likely offer AES encryption.
     
  3. Mark Giles

    Mark Giles Second Unit

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    Thanks seth for the info. is there a router you would recommend over another?
     
  4. Kimmo Jaskari

    Kimmo Jaskari Screenwriter

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    I'd anti-recommend anything D-Link for corporate use. I've had tons of problems with a multitude of D-Link products.

    I'd also suggest you separate the wireless bit from the Internet access bit. This gives you the option to change out either of those parts as time goes by without affecting the other.

    Also don't buy the cheapest stuff you can find. As always, you get what you pay for. Personally I had D-Link (to pick just one example) and had tons of problems. Eventually, I bought just a bit more pricey stuff and wound up with 3com Officeconnect gear that has worked very well.

    You can buy PCI wireless cards to install in the desktop machines, a wireless access point (all should support WPA and 802.11g as a minimum) and then use that to build a wireless network. Hook the access point to a router that has a built-in switch and you're good to go.

    You don't have to separate the wireless from the Internet router, but if the combo box you're using goes bad you lose not only your Internet link but all networking in the office, which can be annoying.

    Sure, the reverse can happen too (the access point breaking) but then you could at least have some looong ethernet patch cables laying around on a shelf somewhere and temporarily connect the PC's to the central switch using those or something.
     
  5. SethH

    SethH Cinematographer

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    I agree with Kimmo that it's a good idea to get a router and access point separately. Most people buy them combined, but buying separately allows you to upgrade the access point without getting a new router.

    I also agree that you get what you pay for. You should look at the Linksys business products. Also, you might consider gigabit if you're going to have multiple computer wired to the router.

    For about $400 you could probably get a Linksys business router/switch and a Linksys business access point.
     
  6. Kimmo Jaskari

    Kimmo Jaskari Screenwriter

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    There is also some very nice corporate class wireless gear available from Symbol and Cisco, to name just a few (Cisco bought out a company called Airespace, I think it was). They separate the controlling intelligence into a wireless controller box and can have several transmitter boxes connected to it throughout the office.

    With a three-computer office, that might be overkill, but if wireless is all you'll have it might be worth paying for industrial strength gear rather than flimsy plastic boxes with second rate stuff in them. That's something you'll have to decide, not me. [​IMG]
     

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