How to Set Up and Maintain a Wireless Workplace


As you distribute APs around the building, you need to consider another detail: How do you connect all of the APs to the network backbone? If you plan to place APs in offices or locations that have existing network jacks, you're in good shape. But if the chosen locations are remote from any existing cable run (say, in a drop ceiling), you'll have to make some choices. By far, the most preferable method is to use a physical network connection to tie the APs to the network backbone. But if you want to park the APs in exotic spots, there is another way.

Some higher-end APs are dual-band-capable; that is, they have a 5GHz 802.11a radio signal as well as a 2.4GHz 802.11b/g/n radio signal. You can use a technique called WDS (for "wireless distribution system") over the 5GHz signal as a way to connect to the LAN, while using the 2.4GHz signal for client access. Theoretically, you can do both on a single band; but if you do, overall performance will suffer greatly.

Remember to plan how to get power to the access points. If there's an electrical outlet nearby, no problem. For relatively remote locations, such as in drop ceilings or where a network jack is available but an electrical outlet isn't, you have another option. provides 48vdc to the AP over standard copper network cabling. The DC voltage travels over an unused pair in the ethernet cable either through a stand-alone PoE injector or from a PoE-enabled ethernet switch. Either way, PoE makes deploying an AP possible in the absence of a readily available AC outlet.