Architecting a Reliable Wireless Network
Few question that the age of mobility is upon us. The emergence of a global economy is facilitated by the basic mobility of goods, services and people. For many, the idea of mobility has become second nature. Of course, the structures for mobility -transportation, logistics, infrastructure -must be robust and reliable lest the mobile quickly become immobile. Given this, it is critical that the wireless industry focus R&D on improving network performance and reliability. What makes this challenging is the need to do this from applications, to the network, and very importantly, to a wide range of mobile devices. To achieve this, businesses should focus on the following key areas when designing a highly available wireless network:- Managing the growth in wireless devices -Managing the growth and diversity of devices connecting to the network requires a continued focus on device compatibility and testing. Through its Cisco Compatible Extensions program, Cisco works with leading Wi-Fi silicon manufacturers to ensure simple, secure connections for a broad range of mobile devices. Another key need is ongoing interoperability testing and validation. While not widely known, Cisco has a very robust program in place, called Assurewave, to achieve just this.– RF management is critical -IT should not underestimate the importance of pushing the envelope in radio development and optimization. In the wireless industry, providers either integrate off-the-shelf radio technology, or internally develop radios. Only by internally developing its own radios and antennas can a provider truly deliver a high performance access point. A robust solution combines radio expertise with software excellence so IT can benefit from dynamic radio resource management capabilities. This removes the complexity of management while ensuring an adaptive network capable of responding to environmental changes including changes in user and device location and density. – Spectrum Intelligence -It is difficult to place heavy reliability requirements on wireless networks without clear visibility into the RF spectrum. Comprehensive spectrum intelligence solutions are critical to provide the intelligence to classify, locate and mitigate RF interference, including from non Wi-Fi sources such as microwave ovens, cordless phones and Bluetooth. – System Unification -For performance and simplicity, the wireless network must be unified with the wired network. In this way, IT can leverage common services and provide the processing horsepower needed to support the breadth of mobility applications being demanded by users, while achieving efficiencies in power and resource consumption.- Intuitive Management -By deploying a comprehensive management solution, IT can obtain the requisite diagnostics and reports on system health before issues become service impacting. The wireless management solution must have proactive tools that help IT optimize the wireless deployment and on going operations. Only by deploying a wireless infrastructure designed to meet the reliability needs of the most stringent environments can IT enable the business to take advantage of emerging mobility solutions. Cisco has led the industry in the development of industry specific solutions like mobile care solutions for healthcare and in-store mobility solutions for retail. These are delivered over next generation, high performance wireless networks like 802.11n. With a significant part of its R&D invested in developing highly available wireless networks, Cisco continues to turn the immobile into the mobile, and keep them there.