Many Enterprises and Health Care facilities have implemented Wireless local area networks (WLANS) within their facilities or campuses as a means to establish data connectivity. Establishing this data access using wireless technology was quicker and less expensive than having to lay cable throughout a building or throughout a campus. Although a wired infrastructure is fairly simple to design, a wireless network on the other hand can be much more complicated in its initial design and the ongoing support required.
Complications have arisen from the evolution of wireless standards, changes in frequencies and available network bandwidth. Although the various standards are backward compatible, certain segments of a hybrid network may not have adequate bandwidth for the application load.
Speaking of applications, the number and types and thus load on the wireless network have increased tremendously since the wireless network was initially implemented. More visitor access, more variety in access appliances, and intense applications such as video streaming or use of WLAN smart phones can make a wireless network crawl.
An interesting phenomenon of wireless technology is how the radio frequency (rf) characteristics can be changed by changes within the environment. More people in a room, filling a tub with water, construction changes by moving a wall, opening a refrigerator, all can place some impact on the wireless signal strength which may result in poor application response time or even a loss of signal.
With the dynamic changes to WLAN technology, the significant changes of the user community, the advent of many new diverse and intensive applications, and the dynamic nature of rf characteristics, one must consider a regular analysis and assessment of their wireless network.