The workplace is changing. Digital transformation is hitting us like a tidal wave. If that crashing wave was 10’ tall, then the post global pandemic adaptations in the office (e.g. hybrid workplace model) have increased the speed and impact of the wave 10 times. With that in mind, how do you adjust wired and wireless networks in a manner that lessens business disruptions and protects IT investments? In particular, how do you overcome Wi-Fi design challenges to best minimize what IT pros struggle with daily, like:
- Coverage Dead Spots
- Unstable Connection
- Sufficient Bandwidth
- Connection Security
- Eco-Friendly Goals
Those are all formidable wireless network design challenges, yet for the purpose of this blog, I’d like to focus in on three problems that come-up often with the customers we work with:
- Wi-Fi coverage map changes
- Increasing bandwidth demands
- Cloud-based controller reliability
Wi-Fi coverage map changes – Wi-Fi access point placement did not exactly start-out as an exact science and the AP placements often were best-guesses. However, with the proliferation of devices inside offices that require wireless connectivity exploding, the need for formal heat mapping analysis was demanded. However, as the APs were upgraded to new Wi-Fi standards (i.e. Wi-Fi 4 to Wi-Fi 5 to Wi-Fi 6) their coverage boundaries changed – that meant moving APs and adding more APs.
Increasing bandwidth demands – Again, as the number of wireless devices grew, and the bandwidth demands of the over-air applications increased too, the through-put capacity of the APs was stretched. Those new Wi-Fi standards increased the capacity requirements of the APs to a point where one gigabit connectivity was not sufficient. Initially it appeared two CATx cables would be needed for every AP, and twice as many gigabit ports on the closet switches, and double the uplink capacity all the way across the transport network.
Cloud-based controller reliability – Now with so many business applications shifting to the cloud, and cloud-based Wi-Fi controllers too, the reliability of the LAN becomes paramount. When there is a network outage businesses lose employee productivity, ecommerce, security systems, and access to the cloud-based Wi-Fi controller. Making matters worse, human error is often the cause of the network downtime because the management of the LAN is getting too complex.
The good news is that Tellabs FlexAir™, and the combination of Optical LAN with Wi-Fi APs and intelligent cloud-based controller, can help those three design difficulties with:
- More flexible design options
- Multi-gigabit Ethernet and multi-wavelengths
- Simplicity and better reliability
Optical LAN flexible design options – The flexibility comes from the fact that with an Optical LAN architecture the ONTs are positioned as close to the APs as possible. That means that if an AP needs to move, or more APs added, the IT staff is simply running a short patch cord to the new location or new AP. In a traditional LAN design, those cabling changes would have run 300’ back to the telecommunications closet. Furthermore, best practices for the passive optical splitters, and distributed DC power systems, is for them to have 25% open capacity, so adding additional ONTs deep in the building is easy too.
Multi-gigabit Ethernet and multi-wavelengths – At the ONTs, these ONTs can be equipped with multi-gigabit Ethernet ports, so as the AP require 1G, 2.5G, 5G or 10G connectivity due to an upgrade to a new Wi-Fi stand, you’re already good-to-go. These ONTs can be either G-PON 2.5 Gbps fed or fed with 10 gigabit XGS-PON. Finally, since PON technology is based on wave division multiplexing, the G-PON and XGS-PON wavelengths can traverse the same fiber infrastructure with no conflict – there’s even an option to add additional 10G wavelengths!
Simplicity and reliability of Optical LAN – With the Wi-Fi controller being positioned in the cloud, the end-to-end network health becomes more and more important. Often the root cause of a network outage is tied directly to LAN equipment complexity and the human errors that can happen as a result. An enterprise network designed using Passive Optical LAN reduces the number of full-functioning managed devices. It shifts the network intelligence and manage to a centralized location – the OLT and the PON manager. The PON Manager uses global profiles and templates to simplify operations with consistent repeatable policies implemented without the risk of human error.
Tellabs FlexAir allows modern businesses to smoothly ride the digital transformation wave by offering greater flexibility for contemporary smart building and internet of things adaptations for both wired and wireless connectivity. Tellabs FlexAir combines the best wireless access points, cloud-based intelligent management, and our world renown Optical LAN for a simplified and unified enterprise network solution – a better way to build and operate Wi-Fi networks.