The Wi-Fi standard of network connectivity/communication is governed by the 802 working group of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE 802). Wi-Fi allows users to access your company or home network wirelessly. Before the implementation of Wi-Fi, the only way to connect to a network was by using copper wires. There are a variety of benefits and hazards that must be considered before rolling out full wireless network access.
Plus: Enhanced Mobility
Laptop and notebook computers allow users to move around easily. Add in a Wi-Fi connection, and they can stay connected to the network as long as they have enough signal strength. This means your users can be online while eating lunch while enjoying the sunshine outside. It also means that a user can stay connected while carrying his or her laptop or notebook from the office to the conference room.
Plus: No Wires to Trip Over or Limit Computer Placement
Wires are hazardous. You can roll over them with your chair and ruin them. You can trip over them while carrying an arm load of papers from the printer to your desk. This can be painful and injurious to both people and equipment. Damaging equipment by yanking a wire caught under your foot is a common occurrence. Also, using a wireless card in a desktop computer frees you from the bondage of having to plug into a wall outlet
Plus: Add Users Without Adding Cable Runs
One of the biggest expenses when expanding the size of your network is adding locations where users can connect to the network. In a network running a traditional copper infrastructure, this means calling in a contractor to pull and terminate cables. With a wireless network, it consists of installing a wireless adapter card in the computer and supplying the user with an access key and the name of the network being connected to.
Minus: Slower Network Speeds
Networks that are compliant with the latest cabling standard (Category 6/6 Augmented) are capable of transmitting data at speeds up to 10 Gigabit. The previous standard, Cat 5e, is capable of Gigabit speeds. This is almost ten times as fast as wireless networks, which are capable of a maximum of 150 Megabits. What this means is that if you will be transferring large data files over the network, you would be better served by a wired network. However, there aren’t many network interface controllers in use that are capable of these speeds yet, especially when it comes to laptop computers.
Minus: Network Security Is Weaker on a Wireless Network
Anyone with a wireless adapter and computer or a Wi-Fi-enabled device, such as an iPhone, can receive the wireless signal propagated by your network’s wireless access points and routers. There are ways to enhance the security of a network based upon wireless technology, but these aren’t fool-proof and can actually be broken quite easily by someone who has the right knowledge and desire. Network security in a wired network isn’t bullet-proof, either, but the tools available much more robust and will keep out all but the most determined of hackers. Also, they have to breach your security normally from the Internet, which usually means multiple layers of security. Once the security of a wireless network has been breached, that person is inside your network with the same access as an authorized user. Typically, someone breaking in to your network from the Internet has to breach that security and then be able to breach the security between subnets as well.
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