When evaluating Wireless LANs, what aspect do you think is the most important to look for?

Let the community know what you think. Share your opinions now!

Ariel Lindenfeld - PeerSpot reviewer
Director of Community at PeerSpot
  • 24
  • 248
PeerSpot user
27 Answers
Partner / Owner at Bimel Elektronik Mamuller Paz. Ltd.
Real User
Top 10
Oct 10, 2021

It depends on the physical environment you have. 

If it is an easy environment (close proximity to the AP and not too many clients), then all APs will give similar results with good customer satisfaction. In this case, you should look into price differences.

All AP manufacturers purchase their chipsets from the same two chip manufacturers and all Wi-Fi features come already embedded in the chipset. 

If you have high traffic loads and a not-so-easy physical environment (distance, too many APs to accommodate, a large number of users in close proximity, changes in the environment such as a warehouse being loaded or emptied, clients holding mobile devices at different angles, etc.) then you should look into "adaptive antenna technology" and "Polarization Diversity" such as from Ruckus Wireless.

Chipsets being the same, the difference in customer experience is achieved by antenna design. 

Adaptive antenna technology causes the AP to have directional coverage patterns on a per-packet basis. This gives a stronger signal level for the same distance. The better the signal, the better the performance is.

It can also reach far corners where omnidirectional antennas will fall short.  

This technology also causes fewer interference problems for other close-by APs (important for crowded areas with too many APs).

Mobile devices which can be held at different angles benefit from "polarization diversity" because they do not lose as much signal strength due to holding the client device at an angle not consistent with the AP's signal polarization. 

Your APs should also have a good "ear" because not all client devices can radiate a signal as strong as the APs can. We need to be able to communicate both ways (from AP to the clients, and from clients to the AP). So, AP sensitivity is also important. Because power and sensitivity figures are given in terms of dBm (logarithmic), keep in mind that every 3 dB difference means twice the power or twice the sensitivity (hearing capability).  

For crowded areas such as conference rooms and stadiums, etc., you should consider directional antenna solutions rather than omnidirectional antennas to minimize the number of clients hearing a particular AP both for performance issues and also for minimizing ico-channel and adjacent-channel interferences.  

Search for a product comparison in Wireless LAN
Dave Eversden - PeerSpot reviewer
User at Forever Group
Sep 26, 2022

That the network is designed properly for your location, devices, and usage requirements. This will vary for almost every wireless network. Baselines in software such as Ekahau AI Pro as designed to address those requirements throughout a premise and (if appropriate) factoring density, device, throughput, and other considerations.

Jóhann G. Thorarensen - PeerSpot reviewer
IT Manager at Sund Upper Secondary School
Real User
Top 5Leaderboard
Oct 6, 2021

Stability and reliability so that my users do not have to worry about the connection.

Real User
Oct 5, 2021

Other than the obvious, strong reliable coverage and cost, I like to have the ability to control everything in the cloud so if I am not at the office, I can still see what's going on and make changes as needed to any and all AP's and Bridges, as well as get notifications about attempted hacks into the wireless network.

it_user163557 - PeerSpot reviewer
Mar 19, 2015

Several things come to mind but a few things stand out.
1. The term "future ready" comes to mind. I've seen businesses put
significant money into WiFi only to find some aspects of their networks are
either not compatible with new Wireless IP standards or their
infrastructure incapable of handling the increased bandwidth for the newer
standard. Operating at 2.4GHz is no longer efficient. The newest
standard is 802.11x. The foundation of your network sets the tone for all
that occurs on it. If it needs an upgrade that should be part of any
research and planning. Technology moves quickly, you must be able to move
ahead with it.

2. You need to understand the range of WiFi specifications from 802.11 to
802.11x and everything inbetween as to how it affects your network and how
it will affect your networks future growth.

3. If you aren't the person with the specific networking skills needed find
someone who is. Finding truly talented network engineers can ensure your
WiFi network will be able to handle what comes along for many years down
the road by using generic switches, easily replaced modules and being able
to program or write the code to manage the system. Your network is only as
good as who builds it and you need someone who has the skills, talent and
smarts to implement for the longer term. I've seen these guys operate and
when they do what they accomplish can be called a work of art, or better
yet, state of the art. Your network operates at state of the art levels
because they think that way. You need not hire the most expensive
technical engineers but it pays to hire the best you can.

4. While cost is not the most important factor it still rates high for most
if not all purchasing decisions. I won't get brand specific but quality
matters more than name and while some name brand equipment is fine, you
need not purchase the most expensive access points and switches to
accomplish the job well. Compatibility, ease of use and quality components
that will last are more important in my opinion. Proprietary equipment
which locks you into a certain brand for more expensive repurchase or
replacement parts can quickly blow a budget. Look for good quality, good
performance and compatibility with other equipment. This provides for a lower
total cost of ownership.

5. System management and ease of management is essential to balance the
network and maintain your network without unnecessary overlap or
interference. Good management is an absolute necessity for maintaining user
access and to supplement thorough planning. Good planning really helps
when you have to deploy hundreds if not more access points as a business
expands to accommodate growth and remote users. I was always taught to
look ahead at least 5 years. If you have a network in place or are putting
one in place, you are not done when successful connectivity is
established. It's not a set it up and leave it situation. Maintaining the
network and looking for opportunities to provide services comes with the

6. Securing the network from rogue users while allowing authorized
personnel and guest user access. This probably comes under plan design and
management but is no less important. Todays world requires enhanced
security by way of WLAN Intrusion Prevention Systems (IPS) and Intrusion
Detection System (IDS) control to contain wireless threats, enforce
security policy compliance, and safeguard information.

7. Computers and peripheral equipment are often overlooked when researching
a WiFi network. It does no good to have a world class network capable of
operating at 5GHz frequency range and you purchase $100,000 worth of cheap
computers or laptops because they were a deal but they will only operate at
2.4 GHz because they have obsolete NIC cards and now you have a huge
bottleneck and significant wasted dollars. The 802.11ac specification
operates only in the 5 GHz frequency range. Cheap systems, printers and
other peripherals generally do not. Do not find yourself in the position
or out of a position because of spending significant money on boat
anchors. I've seen it done.

8. Then I'd look at increasing IP telephony and video-conferencing
capability within the WiFi network for users and clients. Scalability and
ease of expansion should be a no brainer.

Hope this helps answer the question.

User at NCSI HK Ltd.
Real User
May 5, 2021

Reliability, ease of diagnostics...enabling a no-hassle always on wireless service to my users.

Learn what your peers think about Cisco Wireless. Get advice and tips from experienced pros sharing their opinions. Updated: May 2023.
706,775 professionals have used our research since 2012.
Network Engineer with 51-200 employees
Mar 25, 2021

TCO is what I look at.  You can get the APs cheap but what is the yearly maintenance cost do you need cloud or local control.  The big manufacturers all have good products as I have said when buying laptops many times the chips are the same the boards are the same what is the difference service after the sale!  These are my 2 big things I look for.

Consultant Cybersecurity & SD WAN at a computer software company with 201-500 employees
Top 10
Aug 7, 2020

Performance, ease of management with minimal manpower and security in term of WIPS

Manager CAD-SME & Commercial (South Region) with 5,001-10,000 employees
Sep 7, 2017

Zero Downtime and easy management is most important

it_user163557 - PeerSpot reviewer
Mar 20, 2015

I've found that Juniper networks equipment is more scalable and less
proprietary. Cisco isn't a bad solution but more expensive initially and
for replacement components. Juniper is solid and reliable and some say
better than Cisco because open source software can be used with it. I
deliberately did not recommend a brand and really dislike doing so in a
forum. Makes one look like a sales person with an agenda. WiFi not so
fundamental anymore. More mainstream yes but getting much more complex
with load balancinng, access security and equipment compatibility.
Compatibility is where it's at for scalability. Cisco does not guarantee
their equipment will work with other vendor equipment though at times it

Network Security Consultant at a tech services company with 51-200 employees
Real User
Aug 8, 2020

Signal strength

Service Delivery Manager at Akamai Technologies
Real User
Jul 16, 2020

Range, brand reliability, support 

Service Delivery Manager at Akamai Technologies
Real User
Jul 9, 2020

Range, stability, Long Time Evaluation, cost effective 

D6B8 - PeerSpot reviewer
District Technology at INDEPENDENT SCHOOL DISTRICT 196
Jan 7, 2020

Performance followed then by ease of management. You want to choose the best option that you can afford, for the main goal of getting your users on and off the WiFi and as quickly as possible.

User at a tech vendor with 1,001-5,000 employees
Nov 28, 2019

I think that the solution needs to be easy to manage and to be very stable, as much as possible.

Senior Network Administrator with 1,001-5,000 employees
Real User
May 2, 2019

UX, scalability, management...

it_user755604 - PeerSpot reviewer
Systems Engineer at FTD India
Oct 16, 2017

Only one aspect - Does this WLAN solution meet my organizational requirement ?

it_user753411 - PeerSpot reviewer
Asistente IT at a tech vendor with 11-50 employees
Oct 11, 2017

scalability, availability, policies, service level, cost.

it_user632811 - PeerSpot reviewer
Infrastructure Manager at a retailer with 10,001+ employees
Mar 24, 2017

Best quality (technical features, management/monitoring system, open platform, support, future vision of vendor) at best price.

it_user355074 - PeerSpot reviewer
Owner at a tech services company
Dec 11, 2015

Sterling support is most important to me.

it_user106848 - PeerSpot reviewer
User at a tech company with 51-200 employees
Mar 20, 2015

Most important is the ability to detect and minimize interferences. Goid signal strenght and adequate coverage. Hsvevthe place checked by an engineer to verify where an how many wifi units you need. As ither says it is importabt to have roaming so that cliebt devices would navigate seamlessly. The brand is important but even more the support service from the vendor (which coukd also gelp you keep your system updated). It is very difficult to forsee the need over 5+ years so the support is helping in that also. The bandwidth is important but overspending for a resource you are maybe going to use in years to come is a bad idea. Technology evolve very quickly and the risk to have an obsolete overpriced piece of junk Iis just few years away.

it_user170466 - PeerSpot reviewer
IT Manager at a educational organization with 51-200 employees
Mar 20, 2015

Because Wi-Fi solution is a every foundmental solution, So I think the most important criteria is looking forward to the coming 5 years or even more longer.

To achieve this goal,
you should considering the Brand, which we chose Cisco, our Wi-Fi project was done by Aug 2010.
Does the Wi-Fi bandwidth(main feature) will becoming to be a bottleneck in the coming 5 years? 450Mbps per 25 devices, which it would not to be a bottleneck in about 5 years.
Are the software(IOS) updateable? Yes.

Mar 19, 2015

Regarding WLAN:

Solid connections, QOS.

Good throughput, connection speed.

Adequate connections, multi-channel.

In the end, for my use; still prefer Cat5/6, wired connections.

Exceptionally large unique, data files, for majority of users, perform far
better with good old Ethernet connection.

Jim Sherburne

Network Security Consultant at a tech services company with 51-200 employees
Real User
Mar 19, 2015

According to my opinion speed and availability of wireless network are very important while designing WLAN solutions. But the most important criteria is the ability to maintain security of the data in WLAN solutions. The security fears have caused many network managers to avoid installing WLAN solutions. Therefore now a days wireless vendors are working more on the security of devices and many new security features are introduced.

it_user147849 - PeerSpot reviewer
Engineer at Capgemini
Real User
Mar 19, 2015

Survey, Survey, Survey! Dont over saturate as you will be blowing your budget for no gain. and dont buy cheap as you will end up buying again. Any more than x 10 AP's use a controller

it_user92235 - PeerSpot reviewer
Security System Engineer at a wholesaler/distributor
Mar 19, 2015

Three main factors: reliability, availability, efficiency and all features which lead us to that.
Enterprise solutions should have some enterprise features such as roaming, HA, policies, freq hopping, captive/guest portal, interference detection.
Also wifi should be cost effective then price of licences, controller appliance and ap's should be adequate to signal coverage, number of users and required thrughput. Generally business needs :)
The thing worth to remember is warranty and service level.

it_user102534 - PeerSpot reviewer
Principal Engineer at Samsung Electronics
Mar 19, 2015

View point of Access Point application not mobile device
-802.11 standard : 11a/b/g/n/ac/wave 2
-MU-MIMO support, How many SS can be supported
-Bandwidth 160MHz

Related Questions
Kilford  Runhare - PeerSpot reviewer
Network and Security Administrator at Rainbow Tourism Group
Jul 27, 2022
Hi, I'm looking for a report about top-rated WLAN vendors. Where can I find it?  Thanks.
See 2 answers
Director of Community at PeerSpot (formerly IT Central Station)
Jul 26, 2022
Hi @Kilford Runhare, You can check the following pages on PeerSpot: https://www.peerspot.com/landing/report-wireless-lan and https://www.peerspot.com/categories/wireless-lan I hope this is helpful.​
Mahmoud Shehadeh - PeerSpot reviewer
Technical Support at MayaSoft
Jul 27, 2022
Hello my friend https://www.gartner.com/review...
Mar 25, 2022
Hi, How can I test the speed of my wireless network when a computer is connected to Wi-Fi?  Thanks
2 out of 3 answers
Network Administrator Wireless at a university with 1,001-5,000 employees
Mar 23, 2022
If you are wanting to know its internet speed you can always do speedtest.net or for LAN speeds I use LAN Speed Test by totusoft.com. It's pretty low cost (< $20) and it isn't too hard to set it up and use.
Joshua Fatehnia - PeerSpot reviewer
Wireless Solutions Consultant at Anothermimo
Mar 24, 2022
Hi,  If you want to test your internet speed (from device to an external server) you can’t get any better than Speedtest.net.  If you want to check your speeds across your internal network, you can use some of the tools provided by Solarwinds. Otherwise, you can make use of iperf, connecting to endpoints at either side of your network.  If your question is regarding data rate over the wireless connection then there are a few ways of checking this. On Mac, there are several free tools you can use to check this.  On Windows, you can use the command >Netsh WLAN show interface. Bear in mind your data rate will be a lot higher than your actual throughput Hope this helps. 
Related Articles
Director of Community at PeerSpot (formerly IT Central Station)
Aug 2, 2022
Dear professionals, Welcome back to PeerSpot's Community Spotlight! Below you can find the latest hot topics posted by your fellow PeerSpot Community members. Read articles, answer questions, and contribute to discussions that are relevant to you and your expertise. Or ask your peers for insight on topics that interest you! Trending Here are some topics that your peers are discussi...
See 1 comment
Director of Community at PeerSpot (formerly IT Central Station)
Aug 2, 2022
@Chris Childerhose, @PraveenKambhampati, @Deena Nouril, @Shibu Babuchandran and @reviewer1925439, Thank you for contributing your articles and sharing your professional knowledge with 618K PeerSpot community members around the globe as well as with a much bigger readers audience!
Related Categories
Related Articles
Director of Community at PeerSpot (formerly IT Central Station)
Aug 2, 2022
Community Spotlight #19
Dear professionals, Welcome back to PeerSpot's Community Spotlight! Below you can find the lates...
Download Free Report
Download our free Cisco Wireless Report and get advice and tips from experienced pros sharing their opinions. Updated: May 2023.
706,775 professionals have used our research since 2012.