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Businesses Networking Wireless Networking

Making Wireless, Not Ethernet, the Heart of the Network 346

GMGruman writes "As mobile devices enter the workplace and latch on to Wi-Fi networks — along with devices such as HVAC sensors and videoconferencing that most people don't even realize use Wi-Fi — the typical wireless LAN is unable to cope. What needs to happen, argues Aberdeen Group's Andrew Borg, is a rethink of the wireless LAN not as a casual adjunct to the wired LAN (the typical mentality when they were first set up) but as the corporate LAN itself."
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Making Wireless, Not Ethernet, the Heart of the Network

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  • by Hylandr ( 813770 ) on Sunday May 08, 2011 @11:18AM (#36063378)

    The only thing that leaves me inclined to go wireless is not having to pull butt loads of cable through ceilings and attics. Then things like security, PCI DSS and HIPAA are brought into the mix and reality sets in, as I head back into the attic. One of the places I worked at was trying to use an apple airport for a firewall. We were scanned for PCI DSS compliance and gave us a report of every single device on our network. I yanked that in my first 30 days there. Don't even get started on the wireless encryption bit. Really

    - Dan.

  • by Tacvek ( 948259 ) on Sunday May 08, 2011 @01:46PM (#36064588) Journal

    Ethernet (IEEE 802.3) defines the physical layer (layer 1) and MAC layer (lower half of layer 2). Both of those are specific to wired connections.
    Wifi (802.11) defines the wireless physical layer and MAC layer. Again both of those are specific to wireless connections.

    The MAC layer of both were deliberately designed to have similar frame formats, but they are most definitely not the same. You cannot simply emit a WIFI frame on Ethernet and expect it to work.

    Both utilize the same LLC layer (upper half of layer 2) specified in (IEEE 802.2).

    So, no Ethernet is not a Layer 2 technology, and it most definitely implies a wired connection.

  • Well, we can. (Score:5, Informative)

    by Cyberax ( 705495 ) on Sunday May 08, 2011 @06:16PM (#36066548)

    4 years ago I've helped to manage a mesh WiFi network for a fairly large enterprise. It covered a large building with about 1000 people working simultaneously. It was first intended as a temporary network (they had to relocate quickly, because of a fire in their old building). But it worked well enough to become the main network.

    Keys to success: low-power APs with WDS, and gigabit Ethernet trunks + switches with STP. We used WPA with pre-shared password for wireless security and then IPSec for IP-level security (it was used with the wired network earlier so no setup was required).

    As far as I remember, an average access point served about 15 clients. We manually set all the access points to the lowest possible power level, but apart from that we did no additional setup.

God help those who do not help themselves. -- Wilson Mizner