Term Paper: Wireless Communication Networks

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[. . .] ..end users tend to focus on the time savings and productivity gains brought about by the freedom offered by a wireless LAN, while IT/MIS users focus on logistical aspects of installation, as well as cost savings achieved." (2003 Wireless LAN Benefits Study)

The study also found that the main advantage of wireless networks is increased productivity, especially in the workplace. The report asserts that Wireless networks are able to increase employee productivity by allowing users to perform their tasks whenever and wherever it is convenient for them. (2003 Wireless LAN Benefits Study) Workers are able to use wireless networks form their homes, at work or in their cars.

The 2003 study asserts that much of the productivity is due to the increased usage in worker's homes and in hot spots such as hotels, coffee shops and lounges. (2003 Wireless LAN Benefits Study) The production levels of employees were increased by 27% with the implementation of wireless networks. (2003 Wireless LAN Benefits Study) The study found that "The ability to conduct business whenever the employee requires it and wherever the employee may be located has contributed to a reported time savings of almost 90 minutes per employee per workday -- an increase of almost half an hour per day over 2001." (2003 Wireless LAN Benefits Study)

Additionally the white paper asserts that there are also significant financial benefits associated with wireless networks. The study explains that nearly 25% of workers within mid-size and large firms' current access wireless networks; this is an increase from 16% in 2001. (2003 Wireless LAN Benefits Study)

The increased access and the additional time saving associated with wireless networks, has created a rise in the annual dollar value of time preserved per minute by $14 thousand in 2003 compared to $7 thousand in 2001. (2003 Wireless LAN Benefits Study) The study also estimates that this amount will continue to increase as more employees become a part of the network. (2003 Wireless LAN Benefits Study)

The report also asserts that another advantage of a wireless network is the greater accuracy found in the completion of everyday tasks. (2003 Wireless LAN Benefits Study) The study discovered that almost two thirds of all the respondents found that accuracy in everyday tasks had improved since the implementation of a wireless network. (2003 Wireless LAN Benefits Study) The average increase in accuracy was around 41%.(2003 Wireless LAN Benefits Study)

These improvements were particularly significant in the healthcare arena as 70% felt that the increase in accuracy was noticeable. (2003 Wireless LAN Benefits Study) The healthcare respondents concluded that "the "anytime, anywhere" aspect of wireless communications helps medical staff ensure patient health and safety by being able to access and record patient information at the point of care." (2003 Wireless LAN Benefits Study)

The final advantage associated with wireless networks was the ease of use. The study asserts that as portable devices become increasingly more popular and the devices come WLAN ready the technology will be easier to implement. (2003 Wireless LAN Benefits Study) The study found that nearly 50% of PDA users access the WLAN through the use of embedded 802.11 technologies. (2003 Wireless LAN Benefits Study) They also found that nearly 20% of IT professionals say that all of the notebooks that they bought in the past year already possessed embedded WLAN capability. (2003 Wireless LAN Benefits Study)

Disadvantages

Although there are many advantages associated with wireless networks there are also some disadvantages. As with any technological advance, mobile networks may prove to expand the digital divide. This means poor and low income individuals will not have access to the same types of technology. As wireless home networks become increasingly more popular the digital divide may also become greater. (Dhawan et al.)

There are also issues associated with securing a wireless network. Wireless networks are very easy to infiltrate if they are not secured properly. This is especially true in hot spots which are quite often public areas where anyone with a laptop and certain embedded wireless technology can gain access to an unsecured wireless network. A white paper published by Interlink Networks explains that these hotspots can leave a company or a private user with major security issues. The white paper explains that WLANs that grant access to anyone with a Wi-Fi PDA or capable notebook to connect to the Internet or an intranet in hotels, airports, and coffee shops; making these systems particularly vulnerable.(Securing Hotspots with RADIUS) In addition many wireless networks are susceptible to crackers who are able to crack security codes an gain access to networks that may contain sensitive information. (Securing Hotspots with RADIUS)

The white paper explains that this disadvantage can occur regardless of security measures that a wireless network may implement. An article entitled, "Ready to Pull the Plug" explains that although security problems exist with any type of network, WLANs are slightly more risky than traditional LANs. The new 802.1 lb standard includes built-in security, providing some defense against unauthorized interception and access; however, there still are weaknesses. To upgrade security, some developers have implemented proprietary solutions; unfortunately, these features may make it impossible to interchange equipment from different manufacturers, limiting your LAN design options." (Chamberlain and Stambaugh)

There are also problems associated with the implementation and maintenance of a wireless network. Many of these issues are unforeseen by IT professionals. The following paragraphs will discuss in detail the issues associated with the implementation process and the time that is required to maintain the system.

Implementation Issues

As you can see there are several advantages and disadvantages associated with wireless networks. There are also issues associated with the implementation of WLAN systems. According to a white paper published by Venier Networks organizations must be aware of the issues associated with implementing these systems.

The white paper asserts that the issues associated with wireless implementation can be somewhat different than those associated with wired systems. The article explains

Access points continually need to be reset or repositioned, and access permissions continually need to be modified. In the course of a single day, security at a location such as a conference may need to be tightened for employees, then loosened for guests, then tightened again, then loosened. Meanwhile, security and management problems that the IT team had considered solved -- such as virus filtering, which was handled by firewalls and filters at the perimeter of the wired network -- now have to be re-examined, because now that traffic of all kinds can access the network from within the perimeter. ("Watch Out for Unpleasant Surprises When Deploying WLANs")

The report goes on to explain that the implementation of a wireless system is not as hands off as previously believed. The report contends that wireless systems require much more than the basic components of NICs and access point to work efficiently. ("Watch Out for Unpleasant Surprises When Deploying WLANs") The report explains that in order for a system to be implemented properly there must be a comprehensive WLAN management and security plan. If IT professionals do not have such a plan in place they may encounter two main problems when implementing a WLAN system. These problems include hidden expenses and the changing duties of IT professionals. ("Watch Out for Unpleasant Surprises When Deploying WLANs")

The report explains that the hidden expenses are often associated with several different factors. The first factor is associated with aiding end users in configuring their devices so that they can gain access to the network. ("Watch Out for Unpleasant Surprises When Deploying WLANs") The second factor involves the containment of viruses and DoS attacks that may be accidentally launched by WLAN users. ("Watch Out for Unpleasant Surprises When Deploying WLANs") The last hidden expense is associated with having to constantly reconfigure the user and device permissions to meet the needs of a changing body of mobile users. ("Watch Out for Unpleasant Surprises When Deploying WLANs")

The second issue associated with implementing a WLAN involves the changing duties of IT professionals. The report asserts that WLAN implementation often transforms IT departments from hardware oriented organizations into service oriented organizations. ("Watch Out for Unpleasant Surprises When Deploying WLANs") IT departments become Like an ISP serving its customers, an IT department is now expected to ensure that network access, email, and other services are continuously available to users, no matter where they roam. If service is unavailable, intermittent, or unacceptably slow, the help desk is likely to hear about it. IT teams are discovering that, by deploying WLANs, they have signed a virtual Service Level Agreement (SLA) with their users." ("Watch Out for Unpleasant Surprises When Deploying WLANs")

As you can see there are some problems associated with the implementation of a wireless network. These issues are increased when the implementation of such a network is not properly planned. Planning is an essential component of implementing an efficient wireless network.

Current and Future applications and developments

As… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Wireless Communication Networks.  (2004, May 12).  Retrieved April 19, 2019, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/wireless-communication-networks/7308581

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"Wireless Communication Networks."  12 May 2004.  Web.  19 April 2019. <https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/wireless-communication-networks/7308581>.

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"Wireless Communication Networks."  Essaytown.com.  May 12, 2004.  Accessed April 19, 2019.
https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/wireless-communication-networks/7308581.