The biggest benefit of wireless networks is that it allows users to connect to the Internet from any spot inside its area of coverage. Your users no longer need to make a physical connection to the network in order to access webpages, applications, etc. on your network. You can also extend your network beyond the building your wired network is contained in with the use of wireless hardware. That means that your enterprise can create an outdoor wireless network for users on your campus.
Your company might have multiple reasons to build a wireless network that services areas outside your buildings. You may have a large portion of your campus built outside and want employees to access mission-critical applications while enjoying the outdoors. Perhaps you want your guest WiFi network to extend outside to keep them on your network at all times. Whatever the case, your enterprise needs to know how to build an outdoor wireless network. Read on to learn how you can extend your wireless network beyond your buildings and create an outdoor network infrastructure.
Mapping out your outdoor wireless network
Just like an indoor wireless network, an outdoor wireless network needs to be carefully planned before you begin installing it. Your enterprise should map out every access point they plan to build and the extent to which their outdoor network will reach. The outside areas you want to expand coverage to should be ones where you expect the most amount of traffic. Any sitting areas outside, for example, are perfect targets for service coverage.
Physical environment and hazards
Wireless networks are prone to interference and signal blocking no matter what environment they’re built in. Outside factors, including landmarks and physical structures, natural features, and the weather can influence how well your network will operate at every area.
Outdoor wireless mesh networks
Wireless mesh networks are built to provide enterprises with a large amount of interconnection by building nodes designed for both static and dynamic routing. These nodes are constantly talking to each other in order to keep the network aware of every bit of data that goes through the network. This is also a great way to allow users to wirelessly connect to your network, even outside.
Typically, outdoor wireless mesh networks are built by building access points and other nodes around your outdoor campus without connecting them to the wired network. Because you’re installing these nodes outside, you won’t have the benefit of connecting your access points to a wired network most of the time. Thus, you can build access points communicate with each other wirelessly and distribute wireless signals across their area of coverage.
Maintaining universal network management
Throughout the installation of your outdoor network, you need to ensure that you keep the same network management practices and solutions as your other networks. Outdoor wireless deployments are very similar to other wireless networks, so you should consider it an extension of your current network infrastructure. Universal network management means that you won’t have to adopt an entirely new mindset when you build a wireless network outside.
Our Wireless Networks Buyer’s Guide contains profiles on the top wireless network solution providers, as well as specifications on the network hardware they provide. It also includes questions you should ask potential vendors and yourself before buying.
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