What to Look for When Upgrading Your Wireless Access Points

What to Look for When Upgrading Your Wireless Access Points

By: Paula Wong

Last updated: Jun 15 2018


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Are your wireless access points getting outdated and need to be upgraded? Are you unsure which model/brands to choose? There are some things to consider when upgrading your wireless access points. Some of the things that you should consider when upgrading your wireless environment are speed and performance requirements.

You want to think 5 to 10 years (most likely) to avoid having to upgrade again and think in terms of the numbers of users that the access points will serve and also, the types of application that will be running on them. Some applications require more bandwidth and process performance than others such as video and gaming application. Also, what kind of devices will be connecting to them? There are going to be more mobile devices than ever in the future, especially with the Internet of Thing (IoT) devices. Each person may already have at least 3-5 devices (i.e., laptop, iPhone, Kindle, other IoT devices). These numbers increase so make sure your new wireless devices will have enough bandwidth to serve all these devices and with room for expansion.

There are many different vendors out there that make great wireless access points, and they offer different licensing model. Some people prefer not to pay a yearly subscription license. It depends on what you want and how you want to manage these wireless devices. Some vendors have a cloud-based management option that allows you to just have internet connectivity and you can manage the access points directly from the internet.

The other option doesn’t require a yearly subscription and those are non-cloud based and you need to be already on your corporate network to be able to manage it. With this option, you don’t have to worry about paying a yearly subscription fee. You just pay it once and you’re done.

So, once you have determined the type of applications, how many devices that you have that will be connecting to the them, and ow you want to manage it, you can decide to choose among some of good wireless access points brands such as the Aruba IAP models or the Cisco Meraki.

Some other things to think about is the network cabling and network switches that you have. The network cabling should be able to support the throughput of the new access points such as Cat5e, Cat6, or Cat6a (with the Cat6/6a to support anything over 1Gigabit interface type). The switches that you have should have enough PoE or PoE+ power (if that is the route that you’re going) to support the newer wireless access points models.

Now that you have an idea on what you need for the wireless access points, your next question might be how many should I go with? We highly recommend having a site survey done to be able to determine how many access points you will need. The site survey will assist in determining which part of the building you need and want coverage and which areas have weak signals.

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