Logicalis is an international provider of integrated IT solutions and has worked with AirMagnet for over two years to help its wireless network planning and analysis.
Logicalis employs more than 1200 people worldwide to help design, deploy, integrate and manage networks and systems for over 5,000 customers in a range of sectors including education, healthcare, manufacturing, retail and banking and finance.
Wireless networks offer a number of benefits to the enterprise including increased employee mobility, convenience and efficient use of resources and infrastructure without sizable installation costs. Logicalis customers have found that wireless technology also gives them a competitive advantage through increased productivity of a remote or flexible workforce. However, unlike wired networks, wireless networks are subject to constant change simply moving an object can alter the radio frequency (RF) signal which in turn can have a direct effect on network performance.
Installing high performance wireless networks in challenging environments, such as hospitals and warehouses, has therefore been traditionally very time consuming for Logicalis because of increased network interference and risk of security breaches.
The problem: installing secure, high performance wireless networks quickly and efficiently in challenging environments
In order to gain the benefits that wireless networks offer, Logicalis helps its customers ensure their wireless LAN is secure and performing to an optimum level. Network quality is generally obtained through sufficient numbers of well positioned access points. Failure to do so can result in poor network quality, resulting in slow speeds, security breaches and weak voice over wireless call quality.
In hospitals for example, network downtime can have serious consequences. Logicalis has found that radiology departments can be particularly difficult environments in which to install wireless networks because heavy machinery and X-Rays can cause significant network interference. In a retail environment, access points must often be hidden for aesthetic value but obstructions between the wireless access point emitting the signal and work stations can cause diffraction, refraction and reflection of the RF signal all resulting in patchy or interrupted service
At Logicalis we aim to provide the best service possible to our clients. said Jon Shorten, principal technical specialist for Logicalis, We therefore work to install fast, high-powered wireless networks in all environments. However, this poses us with a number of challenges because objects such as glass, stone and metal can all degrade signal quality. Weve even found microwave ovens can cause network downtime because they work at the same frequency as many wireless networks and interfere with RF signal. Installing wireless networks has therefore traditionally been a very time consuming process as we have had to use a number of tools and adopt a trial and error approach to ensure optimum network performance.
The AirMagnet Solution
AirMagnet has a range of wireless LAN planning, management and security tools to help deploy and manage high performance, secure wireless networks that comply with industry-specific regulations. Logicalis currently uses AirMagnet Survey PRO and AirMagnet Laptop Analyzer to help install its networks.
AirMagnet Survey PRO accurately maps out the wireless network to ensure complete RF signal coverage. It provides an accurate representation of real-world situations by collecting live signal, packet and spectrum data which allows users to stimulate and measure network performance. AirMagnet Survey PRO overcomes the problem of hidden antennas in the retail environment by modeling different antenna positions and analysing the impact on the wireless LAN. It provides a scientific report that outlines configuration settings to install the network and enables Logicalis to overcome common causes of interference such as stone, glass and metal.
According to Shorten, AirMagnet provides highly intuitive and easy-to-use tools that have helped us save time and money when installing wireless networks. AirMagnet Survey PRO has made installing wireless networks approximately 50 percent less expensive than it used to be because it reduces the amount of time taken to identify and overcome installation problems. This not only brings down cost in the short term but also minimises the need for maintenance in the long term, giving Logicalis greater competitive edge.
Logicalis uses AirMagnet Laptop Analyzer to troubleshoot wireless networks and quickly detect network vulnerabilities once the network has been installed. AirMagnet Laptop Analyzer is a portable tool that performs live network tests and automatically pinpoints the source of network problems including security breaches, traffic/infrastructure overloads, hardware failures, connectivity issues and RF interferences. It helps detect wireless intrusions, hacking strategies, rogue devices and offers a convenient find tool that automatically tracks down rogue access points and non-complying devices.
You would be surprised to discover the number of factors that can cause network interference once a network has been installed, said Shorten. Even cordless telephones can result in network downtime due to interfering RF signals. Any network problem is obviously very frustrating, especially in organisations that increasingly rely on new wireless technologies such as voice over wireless phones. We use AirMagnet Laptop Analyzer as a fault finding tool, enabling us to quickly detect the source of any problem, be it physical or a security threat. Once this has been identified, the team at Logicalis can quickly act to resolve the problem, providing the best, most efficient service possible to our clients and reducing costs by 50 percent.