Planning a wireless LAN installation is a significant undertaking that cuts across many previously disparate disciplines. This chapter begins the discussion of wireless LAN deployment by tackling the network architecture. Network design is about trade-offs between several factors, including cost, manageability, availability, and performance. Wireless networks add the additional dimension of mobility to the mix.
Wireless networks often extend an existing wired infrastructure. The wired infrastructure may be quite complex to begin with, especially if it spans several buildings in a campus setting. Wireless networks depend on having a solid, stable, well-designed wired network in place. If the existing network is not stable, chances are the wireless extension is doomed to instability as well.
This chapter discusses four approaches to building a wireless LAN. All are discussed in terms of the technical features of wireless LANs that influence how you design your wireless network. How do the features of wireless LANs influence network topology? Besides the 802.11 equipment, what other equipment is needed to deploy a network? How should the logical network be constructed for maximum mobility?
Before presenting any topologies in detail, I will discuss how to evaluate a proposed network. Each of the topologies presented in this chapter has its own strengths and weaknesses. Choosing a topology depends on which ...