Deﬁnition: A Wireless Access Point (WAP) is a device that provides connection between wireless devices and enables wireless networks to connect to wired networks. WAPs have a network interface to connect to the wired network and a radio antenna or infrared receiver to receive the wireless signals. Many include security features that enable you to specify which wireless devices can make connections to the wired network.
Figure: A Wireless Access Point
Wireless Access Point Placement
By considering several key factors of wireless network installation along with the cost of implementing and maintaining a secure wireless network, a network professional both demonstrates the proper installation methods and ensures maximum network functionality.
To implement a basic wireless network, follow these guidelines:
- Choose the appropriate 802.11 technology for your needs, whether it be 802.11a, bg, or n.
- Choose the appropriate access point placement for your network:
— Consider making a scale drawing of the building. This will assist you in all areas of AP placement.
— Know the range of the wireless technology you have chosen. By knowing the AP’s range, you can better determine how many you will need to cover the space.
— Avoid having too many users access a single AP; make sure that the placement can adequately meet the needs of those nearby. More employees in a given area means more APs.
— Tour the area that you are going to provide access to, and note if there are any devices that will interfere with the network. For some wireless LANs, this includes devices such as microwave ovens, Bluetooth devices, and possibly an existing wireless network, whether from a community network, a neighboring building, or another ﬂoor of your company’s building. These may interfere with your new implementation later.
— Consider whether the access point will be exposed, concealed in the ceiling or in a secure room.
— Be aware of doors, windows, walls, and furniture that the wireless signal will pass through on its way to a client. If there are too many obstacles, adjust the AP placement accordingly.
- Install the access points. The speciﬁc steps will vary by vendor, but might include:
— Connecting the AP to the router.
— Conﬁguring the DHCP service as appropriate.
— Conﬁguring the appropriate encryption.
— Conﬁguring channels and frequencies.
— Setting the ESSID and a 802.11 beacon.
— Creating an Access Control List.
— Conﬁguring the network adapters of the devices that will be using the AP.
- Verify that the installation is appropriately sized, secure, and operational.
- Document what was done and establish a baseline.