In a recent comparison, Network World put EnGenius Technologies to the test against other leading enterprise solution companies—Extreme, Cisco, and Meraki—to find out whose wireless Wi-Fi 6 access points delivered the best throughput speed.
When the dust cleared, the EnGenius EWS377AP access point (AP) emerged the clear winner with both the fastest average throughput and the fastest maximum throughput numbers with Wi-Fi 6 clients and their Wi-Fi 5 predecessors.
On Wi-Fi 5 clients, the EnGenius AP outperformed the second-best Extreme AP in average throughput with the Galaxy S5 client, clocking a throughput of 498.5 Mbps against Extreme’s 485.45 Mbps.
When paired with the Wi-Fi 5 TP-Link adapter client, EnGenius AP and the Galaxy S5 phone were tied at 498.5 Mbps.
EnGenius also beat out the competition on Wi-Fi 6 clients, with a record high 929.37 Mbps score earned in the linkup between the EnGenius AP and the iPhone 11 client.
As more and more businesses upgrade to the greater strength, speed, and efficiency of Wi-Fi 6, they need to know that new products, like access points, are compatible with any Wi-Fi 5 devices that might still be part of the network.
Since the APs of each company support both Wi-Fi 5 and Wi-Fi 6, Network World tested them against two Wi-Fi 5 and two Wi-Fi 6 clients, recording the average throughput and peak throughput during one-minute tests.
Specifically, the EnGenius EWS377AP was matched up against the Extreme AP-650, the Cisco Catalyst C9115, and the Meraki MR55. Each AP was paired with Wi-Fi 5 clients, TP-Link AC600 USB adapter and Galaxy S5 phone. Each AP was further paired with Wi-Fi 6 clients, Ubit AX200 PCI adapter and Apple iPhone 11.
The results give a sense of the performance boost users can expect by upgrading to Wi-Fi 6. However, the Wi-Fi 5 testing is equally important because some Wi-Fi 5 clients will be used for some time even after users upgrade to Wi-Fi 6 APs.
Among the features compared were the multi-user OFDMA, WPA3 security protocol, and the multi-user, multi-input/multi-output (MU-MIMO) streams at 2.4 and 5GHz.
See how the EnGenius EWS377AP matched up against these and more features of the other Wi-Fi 6 APs in the chart below:
ENGENIUS ACCESS POINTS AND NETWORK MANAGEMENT SOLUTIONS
All EnGenius access points can be managed using either the license-free EnGenius Cloudor the EnSky on-premises network management solution. Some companies take the best of both worlds and create a hybrid management solution as well.
Visit engeniustech.com to learn more about EnGenius’ line of high-performance wireless networking APs, including the tested EWS377AP (on-premises management) and its twin, the ECW230 AP (cloud management).
As network administrator, you dream of building a strong, seamless network that can handle a mountain of data smoothly and efficiently while making maintenance and updates a breeze.
One key component in achieving a solid network is a strong, dependable network switch, connecting every device imaginable—workstations, printers, routers, modems, access points, surveillance cameras, and so on—in a harmonious weave of efficiency and cooperation.
As the most trusted leader in wireless tech, EnGenius stands at the forefront of cutting-edge advances in switch technology demonstrated by a superior line of virtual zero-touch control switches.
EnGenius switches are designed with the workplace in mind. Each switch is flexible, seamless, secure, and easy to deploy.
What does EnGenius switch technology enable you to do?
1. Get your network up and running in no time.
EnGenius switches can be deployed in minutes with its simple on-boarding, configuring, and updating process using a license-free cloud management system.
The EnGenius Cloud management app allow you to easily scan and assign switches—first to your organization, then to your network—after which your devices will be automatically registered and configured. Afterwards, you can fine-tune configurations however you like on the switch detail page.
Done and done.
2. Manage and troubleshoot your network from anywhere in the world.
EnGenius’ virtual zero-touch control switches give you access to your network any place, any time. With the EnGenius Cloud platform or mobile app, you can instantly monitor, troubleshoot, and fix any network problems on-site or remotely.
There’s a lot at stake. Experts estimate that businesses lose an astonishing 700+ billion dollars every year because of network failure.
Every second counts.
EnGenius Cloud saves you valuable time by providing an intuitive interface and topology view that allow you to monitor the health of your network and deliver remedies fast.
Let’s take a closer look.
The EnGenius Cloud interface includes a list of your switches with an expanded view option. You can see all network switches on one screen, delivering loads of information on each switch and its relationship to all other switches and devices in the network. For example, you can see how many ports are open, how much of your Power-over-Ethernet (PoE) budget each device is using, and what virtual networks are configured on which switch.
The interface also includes a visually rich topology view, giving you a host of valuable information about the layout of your entire network. Clicking on any portion of the network map allows you to access even more granular information like connection features, port and device location, speed, and PoE budget allocation per device. Clicking on any device takes you straight to that device’s detail page.
You’re a pilot in the cockpit of your own high-speed network.
3. Experience lightning fast data speeds to help you get the job done.
EnGenius switches enhance network speed and performance by carefully controlling the amount of bandwidth speed that devices such as access points need—right at the port itself. By providing just the right amount of speed needed in areas where bandwidth requirements fluctuate (e.g. conference rooms, lobbies), EnGenius switches accelerate overall network performance and efficiency.
EnGenius switches also operate at speeds of 1 Gbps to 2.5 Gbps—more than capable of keeping up with the tough demands of newer and faster devices.
4. Discover switch technology that adapts to your expanding business vision.
If you are dreaming big, you can choose from EnGenius’ suite of 8- to 48-port switches in gigabit or multi-gig configurations depending on your business vision. An unlimited number of switch units can be connected and managed using our EnGenius Cloud platform, providing deep-dive analytics and custom alerts through your smart phone app.
EnGenius switches are designed to expand seamlessly with the growth of your company, provide the network capacity you need, and save you a truckload of money in the process.
5. Avoid the high cost of installing additional power cables and outlets.
EnGenius switches use proven Power-over-Ethernet (PoE) technology that delivers electrical power (up to 740 watts) through easy-to-connect Ethernet cables instead of standard power lines.
How does this help you?
PoE makes the exorbitant cost of installing additional power cables and outlets unnecessary. Some devices, such as surveillance cameras, are tricky to install since they typically need to be placed in remote areas of a building—often far from standard power sources.
PoE helps you avoid all that.
Furthermore, PoE provides superior, stable connection, and protects against deadly power surges.
6. Secure your business operations and sensitive data with the most advanced security protocols.
Security is crucial in an age when billions of ubiquitous wireless devices on cloud networks are in frequent danger of being compromised.
EnGenius Cloud uses multiple layers of security to keep your network safe—two-factor authentication, non-sequential serial numbers, and MAC address verification that ensures only authorized cloud devices are on your network.
Once devices are authenticated, a secure tunnel is established between the device and the cloud management system with a unique certificate that encrypts transmissions.
That’s about as airtight as you can get.
The Choice is Yours
Now that you know what EnGenius switch technology has to offer, what will you do next?
Remember, we at EnGenius Technologies are committed to helping you build the kind of network that delivers reliable, fast, secure service using world-class switch technology. Check out our suite of virtual zero-touch control switches for more details.
The EnGenius SkyKey appliance makes deploying, managing, troubleshooting, and scaling your small to mid-size business Wi-Fi network easy.
As your business grows, so will the demands on your network. More people, more offices, more customers all mean more data – and more demands for access. One of the networking areas showing the most growth is Wi-Fi deployments. Wi-Fi markets are projected to reach 15.6 billion in sales by 2022, driven by an increase in BYOD polices and the need to support connected devices and the Internet of Things (IoT).
Wi-Fi 6 Changes Everything
The introduction of Wi-Fi 6 in 2019 is a huge event for networking. It promises to support the ever-increasing number of connected devices at faster speeds with more reliable connections. This means that more people will expect to be connected all the time with an excellent experience.
This means that you must be sure that your Wi-Fi network can scale to meet these new connectivity and performance demands. Your Wi-Fi deployment may need to be expanded or, at the very least, upgraded to meet new standards. As your Wi-Fi network grows with your business, you may want to expand deployment and management functionality to reach larger areas and other sites. As your on-premises devices and services grow, you may need a solution that can manage the entire network remotely.
Deploying, expanding, or upgrading a Wi-Fi deployment can be complicated – especially with the need to manage and troubleshoot the Wi-Fi network. Fortunately, EnGenius has an excellent solution to speed up and simplify Wi-Fi network deployment and management: EnGenius SkyKey.
EnGenius SkyKey Reduces Wi-Fi Complexity
EnGenius SkyKey – a device smaller than the average smartphone – removes the need for the dedicated full workstation or server usually required for managing a fully on-premises wireless network. Equipped with user-friendly software, the plug-and-play device prevents IT professionals from spending hours going through a challenging installation or maintenance. With SkyKey, you can simply attach an access point (AP) to a switch, the switch to SkyKey, and you can then immediately begin controlling Wi-Fi access using the user-friendly web browser interface.
SkyKey acts as an integrated computer equipped with built-in sophisticated network management software and powerful state-of-the-art hardware. SkyKey is powered by simply plugging it in to any 802.3af/at Power Over Ethernet (PoE) switch, or by using DC12V power.
With SkyKey, you can manage your Wi-Fi network on-premises or remotely via a cloud service. This grants admins full control over the managed network of choice. The device includes integrated and sturdy magnet strips so that IT professionals can attach it to any metal surface – saving valuable office space.
SkyKey can easily be added to manage EnGenius Wireless Access Pointsand Switchesfrom both remote and local sites. IT managers or administrators at small and medium businesses can use SkyKey to manage access points and switches quickly and easily.
SkyKey’s intuitive interfacesecurely provides efficient device management, cloud accessibility that allows cloud management of multiple SkyKey’s from a single portal, and visibility without requiring a dedicated server, and provides:
Flexibility IT administrators can choose cloud or direct on-premises network management. This gives them full control over the managed network. SkyKey also allows administrators to use a combination of both methods to create the most efficient process for their company.
Convenience With its compact size and magnetic backing, SkyKey easily fits into small spaces and stays securely attached to a metal surface (like a switch or switch rack).
Efficiency SkyKey provides a single place to view the status and analytics of each device. You can perform administrative tasks for both wired and wireless devices.
Simplicity There is no complex installation or integration. SkyKey is simply plug and play.
Security Since SkyKey is installed at each deployment site, the device offers an always on, secure single sign-on service.
EnGenius Wi-Fi Solutions Help Businesses Get Wi-Fi Right
SkyKey is one component of EnGenius’ Wi-Fi solutions package. Whether you are a small, medium, or enterprise-class business, EnGenius solutionscan help you plan, deploy, manage, and troubleshoot any sized Wi-Fi network.
SkyKey is one component of EnSky’s suite of tools that help deploy managed Wi-Fi with existing on-site network or by building customized networks from scratch.
The recent release of the Wi-Fi 6 standard means that users are expecting a better network experience. High-Performing access points (AP) support faster speeds – up-to 3.6 Gbps – and hundreds of concurrent users. They can connect to network switches at 2.5 Gbps.
With the rapid adoption of Wi-Fi 6 and the availability of compatible devices, it’s very likely that your enterprise will implement the latest Wi-Fi standard soon. Your CAT5e and CAT6 cables can support it, but what about your network closet?
Do your network switches have the needed speed and power to meet user expectations?
Wi-Fi 6 (and the Supporting Network) Requires More Speed
Many of the switches in your networking closet only support 1G speeds. Wi-Fi 6 runs considerably faster. The latest 802.11ax access pointsprovide speeds up to of up to 3.6Gbps. Users on these APs can take advantage of the higher speeds and throughput to run traffic-intensive apps and services – if the underlying infrastructure supports it. If it doesn’t, the connection from the AP to the switch becomes a huge bottleneck.
What’s the use of deploying the faster speed and greater bandwidth of Wi-Fi 6 if your underlining network doesn’t support it as well? You could connect multiple ports as single pipe via trunking, but of course that greatly reduces your port density and network scalability.
The need for higher speed networking is here already, and it’s only going to grow. Devices are being built to connect to Wi-Fi 6. The speed it provides is going to be the norm. If you are upgrading your networking switch closet, you’d better be thinking ahead – the switches you buy now are going to have to support the rapidly increasing bandwidth requirements that your users will demand.
Enter multi-gig switches. “Multi-gig,” the term people use to describe Ethernet ports compliant with NBASE-T 802.3bz, refers to ports that run at speeds higher than 1G on copper cables.
Multi-gig switching helps futureproof your infrastructure. It allows you to switch from 1G to 2.5G speeds on existing cables and let your existing network and Wi-Fi infrastructure embrace the higher network speeds. This means users can gain the benefits of better connectivity and better performance. It also means that you can gradually expand your Wi-Fi network and network infrastructure so that it supports a mix of older and newer APs and associated Wi-Fi deployment devices.
Wi-Fi 6 Requires More Power
In addition, many of the latest Wi-Fi 6 infrastructure machines and connectable devices need POWER. And more of it. The next demand you’ll need to place on your infrastructure switches is Power over Ethernet (PoE). PoE allows a switch to pass both power and data over twisted pair Ethernet cabling. This is crucial as more and more devices such as APs and IP cameras are installed in locations that aren’t conveniently placed near an electrical outlet.
The initial roll out of PoE was so successful that many connectable devices began to require more power than the PoE standard allowed. New AP wireless access points and some IP security cameras needed more than the 15W that PoE initially provided. To meet the demand, PoE+ (802.3at) and PoE++ (802.3bt) were developed. PoE+ provides up to 30W of power, and PoE++ provides up to 100W of power.
Besides wireless APs and IP security cameras, the higher wattage provides power support for the latest Internet of Things (IoT) devices such as medical diagnostic tools, access control systems to secure physical locations, and lighting. As places such as student housing, condominiums, assisted living facilities, and hotels use smart devices more and more, there is an increased demand for higher power budgets per switch.
EnGenius Multi-Gig Switches Support Higher Network Speeds
Both new switches from EnGenius support 120 Gbps of switching capacity via eight 2.5GBASE-T ports along with four 10GbE SFP+ slots for fiber uplinks. Each Ethernet port supports speeds up-to 2.5 gigabit and automatically detect the speed needed by the connected end device.
The switches provide full-featured Layer 2+ functionality and improve overall performance for the entire network.
The ECS2512FPmodel supports the IEEE 802.3bt Power-over-Ethernet, allowing it to transfer up to 60W of power per port to power-hungry devices like Wi-Fi 6 access pointsand IP cameras. You can deliver up-to PoE++ to four devices on any of the eight Ethernet ports.
The new switch line helps you avoid needing expensive fiber runs by using any of the eight 2.5 Gbps Ethernet ports to connect to other switches. This lets network admins create an Ethernet backbone from switch to switch communication rather than using fiber. If you are fiber ready, you can use the four 10G SFP ports for extreme up-link speeds and distances.
Both of the new EnGenius switch lines are fully compatible with the subscription-free EnGenius Cloud service. EnGenius Cloud allows you to monitor system metrics in real time, display network topology, troubleshoot problems, and analyze network’s behavior. The latest EnGenius switches with flexible multi-gig speed and improved PoE support, coupled with the EnGenius Cloud service, provide enterprise-class features that simplify Wi-Fi 6 network deployment, monitoring, and troubleshooting.
EnGenius Multi-Gig Switches Provide Needed Wi-Fi 6 Speed and Power
EnGenius multi-gig switches have the functionality and power needed to guarantee that your growing Wi-Fi 6 networks supports the speed, performance, and connectivity that your users expect. When coupled with EnGenius Access Pointsand EnGenius Cloud, your Wi-Fi 6 network has all the coverage and visibility needed for successful and stable deployments.
The EnGenius Cloud Wi-Fi management solution has the cloud network technology you need to manage your Wi-Fi deployments – including a robust application program interface (API) to extend the functionality of our cloud software to your existing Wi-Fi applications and solutions.
The FYI of API
The functionality of the Internet is built on the use of application program interfaces, or APIs. What is an API? An API is a set of commands available privately or publicly that allow developers to access the functionality of existing applications and services.
Why is this important? Well, as stated, nearly everything on the Internet communicates with other applications in order to provide functionality to users. From Google, to Facebook, to Amazon, to , every interaction done online requires access to some pre-existing application functionality.
Buying something on Amazon from a third party? An API is used. Sending music from your smartphone to a car stereo via Bluetooth? Thank an API.
APIs don’t just allow access to application functionality, but also to data. This is the cloud network technology that Google Maps uses to instantly provide information on a specific location, what restaurants are around it, and where to get gas for your drive home. APIs provide a means for one application to access the power and data of many different applications and leverage that functionality and data to its own users.
APIs enable two otherwise dissimilar entities to communicate with each other in a common language.
Cloud API on the Rise
With the huge increase in cloud computing adoption – specifically “as a Service” providers that use public cloud network technology as provided by AWS, Google Cloud, and others – there is a subsequent rise in the drive of the growth of the global cloud API use. As more services access applications and functionality in public clouds, they need to be able quickly access application software and systems that power the cloud. This drive is due to a huge demand for the operational efficiency and engineering automation needed to speed up time-to-market of product launches. In fact, a new report from Allied Market Researchpredicts an explosion in cloud API use in the next 5 years, growing at a CAGR of 20.3% from 2019 to 2026.
EnGenius Cloud API
EnGenius Cloudprovides cloud network technology for managed service providers (MSP) and Eco-Partners via a complete set of APIs that extend and customize its Wi-Fi management capabilities. Our API allows access to configuration, display, statistics, monitoring, and troubleshooting information so that your homegrown or other existing networking and Wi-Fi applications can pull from the EnGenius Cloud and add functionality to internal systems. We offer the flexibility to change the theme, frontend design, add on modules, traffic redirection, and even add new IoT devices, all in one convenient place.
The EnGenius API allows you to harness the power, freedom, and ease-of-use that EnGenius Cloud provides and add it to your current systems.
EnGenius Cloud customers can get a full list of API commands and functionality by request. EnGenius is currently expanding and developing more API functionality all the time. If you have API needs or requests, let us know – EnGenius Cloud has you covered.
For small to medium business and enterprises that need a simple and central way to see and manage their wireless networks, EnGenius Cloud provides the reliable API tools needed to enable companies to focus on growing their business – not on managing there Wi-Fi.
The increase in technology use in conjunction with medical and healthcare companies has created a new twenty-first century health experience that allows the quick and easy transmission of medical data. From stored medical data to the use of IoT medical devices that automatically update patient records, there is more patient information zipping around networks and the internet than ever before. And it is growing exponentially. Records that used to take days to move from one facility to another can now be transferred in seconds, and doctors from around the globe can monitor patient information in real-time.
With this advance in medical technology and data access comes a new issue: medical data security. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA)was enacted specifically to allow health facilities the ability to adopt new technologies while still ensuring patient information privacy.
What are the HIPAA Compliance Requirements?
HIPAA is a law passed by the federal government of the United States that defines the exact standards for data privacy with regard to patient healthcare information (PHI). Any entity that collects, holds, transmits, or accesses personal patient health information must maintain this set standard of data protection for all physical, network, and process measures that touch PHI data in order to ensure HIPAA compliance. HIPAA compliance standards cover not only data storage, but also the transmission of data, access to data, logging information about the data usage, and controls on both remote and physical access.
The types of organizations that must maintain HIPAA compliance requirements include health care providers, insurance companies, medical facilities (such as hospitals, residential communities, and medical service providers), and anyone providing treatment, payment, and operations in healthcare. Anyone who does business with these entities that comes in contact with physical or network areas that control PHI data also need to be compliant.
HIPAA is mandatory. There are severe penalties both legal and financial for not following HIPAA protocols to the letter.
HIPAA Compliance Requirements and Wi-Fi Networks
Increasing, on-premises Wi-Fi service is an important tool for medical facilities and providers. It allows doctors, patients, and devices the ability to access crucial data and ensure the best and most immediate care. When used in conjunction with PHI, Wi-Fi networks are required to follow HIPAA regulations. Even more crucial, as many business services and infrastructure (such as Wi-Fi) are moving to a managed cloud model, security concerns can grow – is your medical data safe in the cloud?
Enforcing security policies can be a daunting task for regular Wi-Fi admins, but with medical data there are obviously serious repercussions to any breaches in data security. Unfortunately, not having Wi-Fi access isn’t really an option. What can you do?
EnGenius Cloud has the answer.
EnGenius Cloud Meets Your Wi-Fi (and Data) HIPAA Compliance Requirements
EnGenius Cloud provides the exact features that guarantee that data, access to data, and the transmission of data won’t compromise security:
Unique User Identification EnGenius Cloud’s dual band (2.4G/5G) access points can broadcast up to eight SSIDs simultaneously. Each SSID has its own security and access control. This includes the ability to use EnGenius Cloud Radius and an external Radius server to authenticate users with unique username and password via a captive portal with a splash page. EnGenius Cloud also provides a log that grants network administrators insight into user client device operating systems and their connection history and activities.
Emergency Access EnGenius Cloud only handles the management plane of network devices. User data goes straight through the Cloud devices, and EnGenius Cloud devices stay on and up even if the EnGenius Cloud becomes inaccessible.
Authentication, Integrity, and Encryption Communication between cloud devices with EnGenius Cloud is based on secure SSL tunnels, and to further enhance security a two-factor authentication (TFA) process is required before a tunnel can be built between devices. EnGenius access points (AP) support WPA3 Enterprise with 192-bit security “Suite B”, WPA3-Personal, WPA2 Enterprise with 25-bit AES encryption, and WPA2-Personal.
Audit Controls Administrators of customer networks can see the logs of user devices associated and dis-associated, authenticated and de-authenticated, and all roaming time stamps.
Log-in Monitoring Administrators can identify users and the time of any configuration changes. Administrators can also provide user privileges to multiple organizations and networks, and review system and change logs.
Password Management Administrators have a unique account (email address) and password, which can manage thousands of organizations and networks with a single sign-on. Administrators can invite, modify, or delete additional administrators and/or read-only users.
Response and Reporting EnGenius Cloud provides event settings and email digest. Administrators can customize system event notifications to receive alerts to see devices that went offline, duration times, and configuration changes. By scheduling an auto-report generator, reports can periodically be sent to the administrator’s email account.
Data Backup and Recovery EnGenius Cloud is a serverless cloud architecture that manages cloud resources automatically based on system utilization. This means the cloud scales up or down automatically to meet the needs of a particular client. This serverless architecture provides a highly resilient infrastructure, with data stored in different regions for guaranteed disaster recovery.
Emergency Mode Operation Since there are no hardware-based controllers that manage cloud devices, there is a greatly reduced risk of failure from a physical network. The Wi-Fi management architecture is ALWAYS up.
Your healthcare organization deals with a great deal of sensitive and federally regulated patient information. The consequences of losing control of security over any part of the network are high. Your Wi-Fi network is a critical component to providing the medical and health services you need to satisfy customer and employee needs. HIPAA compliance requirements must be maintained over this network. By using EnGenius Cloud, you can guarantee that your organization protects the information and maintains the compliance necessary to run your business.
EnGenius Cloudlets IT admins quickly resolve cloud-based network issues by providing actionable insights into network problems.
Wireless Internet is like electrical power nowadays — the only time you realize how much you need it is when it isn’t working. And at that point, it’s a huge inconvenience. When issues do occur, it’s usually at the worst times, and at important and visible events. This is the stuff of IT admin nightmares. For users, the equation is simple: the Wi-Fi network either works or it doesn’t.
For users the equation is simple: the Wi-Fi network either works or it doesn’t. For the administrators who design, deploy, and support wireless LAN, the Wi-Fi network is a multi-faceted entity with a lot of connected parts – any one of which can be the source of connectivity issues due to client device traffic demands, radio interference, misconfiguration, building material interference, etc. Moving network management to the cloud is a great solution for spotting network issues – especially now that networks are often deployed in different geographical locations.
When wireless connection problems occur, you need a way to easily troubleshoot problems so that your cloud-based network hits performance needs quickly. EnGenius Cloud provides excellent tools that help you troubleshoot your entire cloud-based network.
Wi-Fi Device Connections: What, When, Where and How?
If there are Wi-Fi network problems, knowing what devices are connected to the network, where they are, when they connected, and how they were using the network is important. It helps determine if the problem was part of the network infrastructure, or if it was caused by somebody on the network.
EnGenius Cloud records each connected device’s journey in your cloud-based network, with timestamps. IT admins can pull up the entire device history using client device MAC addresses. This includes the AP it connected to (by serial number), the authentication status, and the time required to roam to another AP.
With this information, IT admins can look at individual users and their specific devices to help determine what might have happened.
Wi-Fi Access Point (AP) Historical Statistics Dashboard
Besides having a broad view of all the devices connected to the Wi-Fi network, it’s important to get a full historical view of the traffic on APs and managed switches. IT admins need to be able to look at the behavior and performance of specific network devices like APs in order to see if there are irregularities that deviate from normal patterns.
EnGenius Cloud keeps historical data for each cloud-based network device so that IT admins can review traffic data and see if anything went amiss. When there is a specific AP identified with potential issues, the EnGenius Cloud historical throughput statistics dashboard visualizes traffic patterns for Wi-Fi network devices in easy-to-read graphs that let you compare data and look for patterns. The Layer 7 traffic dashboard also lets you see if specific applications and traffic types were taking up most of the bandwidth and limiting throughput for other traffic types.
Real-Time Status of Wi-Fi Devices
Another important aspect of Wi-Fi management is resource usage by elements like APs or switches on the network. Slow network performance can be caused by high CPU or memory utilization by networking devices. Tracking down this type of usage can be time consuming and frustrating.
EnGenius Cloud makes observing cloud-based network device resource usage simple. It activates a “real-time function” module to observe the CPU/memory utilization rate of attached devices in real-time. Using this information allows IT admins to compare current and historical data and throughput statistics to determine a course of action – like resetting the device.
Comprehensive Wi-Fi Network Event Log Reports
One of the biggest headaches for IT admins is piecing together threads of an issue from log files across one or more machines in a network. Having a centralized repository for all of the log files makes researching network data events much easier.
EnGenius Cloud automatically consolidates all log files in a single convenient location, including system log, event log, and configuration changes of all managed cloud-based network devices.
Powerful filtering functions empower IT managers to simply compare and analyze log data for many different devices and cloud configurations. You can filter by time-period, event types, networks, SSID’s, specific devices or clients, and categorize by event states like errors and warnings.
Customized Notification per Wi-Fi Network
Reviewing network statuses continuously is not an effective use of IT’s time. What IT needs is an effective notification system via email or mobile phone that lets the right people know when certain Wi-Fi network conditions occur.
At the same time, the notification system must be sufficiently tunable so that recipients don’t suffer from “alert fatigue.” Alert fatigue is what happens to recipients when there are hundreds, or thousands, of network notifications sent to multiple recipients. In such situations, a crucial notification is bound to get missed.
EnGenius Cloud allows you to customize notification criteria per network. EnGenius leverages stream processing technology to build a highly scalable, full fault-tolerant, secure, and low-latency messaging platform that sends the most important notification messages to the right people. This ensures that critical notifications for your cloud-based network are received and minimizes alert fatigue.
Manage Your Wi-Fi Network on the Go
As businesses grow, so do their networks. Managing the entire network, no matter where it is deployed, can be challenging. Many businesses are moving their infrastructures and operations to cloud-based networks in order to centralize the systems so that they can centralize managing and monitoring crucial infrastructures. The same is true with your Wi-Fi networks.
EnGenius Cloudprovides a mobile application to help IT users stay on top of their network no matter where they are. You can receive notifications on the app and get the stats and views needed to troubleshoot a deployment or a device.
The app also allows users to immediately deploy new devices and add them to the centralized cloud by simply scanning a QR code. Once it is assigned to a network, it becomes fully manageable from the cloud. Preset network configurations can automatically be pushed to a newly installed device.
Since EnGenius Cloud is located in the cloud offsite, it stays up, running, and accessible no matter what is happening in any given area.
EnGenius Cloud Helps Troubleshoot Your Wi-Fi Network
When you need to easily manage and troubleshoot your wireless network, the EnGenius Cloud solution has the right graphic tools and usability options to guarantee that you can see the data that is going to help you track down any problems. Since it’s a cloud-based network and not on a local deployment, you can see any part of the network, in detail, anywhere you need to be, and review what was going on exactly when an issue occurred.
A managed cloud Wi-Fi solution like EnGenius Cloud allows IT admins a way to visualize their Wi-Fi networks for better performance and faster issue resolution.
As more small to medium-sized businesses and enterprises adopt Wi-Fi solutions to support the needs of their staff and customers, they will need to plan, deploy, and administer the entire business Wi-Fi network.
Wi-Fi administrators need a single-pane-of-glass that lets them visualize the entire Wi-Fi network across all sites so that they can quickly and accurately address issues as they occur. As their networks grow, they also need a fast and easy way to add new devices into their network architectures and monitoring systems.
Using managed cloud Wi-Fi software is a great solution for these issues. Cloud management allows you to access Wi-Fi network information anywhere, anytime, and keep track of the entire network regardless of where the network is deployed geographically.
The EnGenius Cloud solution provides your enterprise deployment with visualization tools that let you see, measure, and manage everything in your network – locally and remotely. Hosting your deployment in EnGenius Cloud provides a simple and cost-effective managed cloud solution for visualizing and controlling your Wi-Fi deployment.
A Complete Managed Cloud Wi-Fi Network Design Cycle
Nothing causes more headaches than deploying a wireless network and finding it doesn’t meet your needs. Wouldn’t it be better to fully provision your network based on actual site plans in real-time, before you deploy?
With the EnGenius ezWiFi Planner tool, you can upload your floor plans and begin modeling your project by marking coverage and exclusion zones, designating areas by type (office, lobby, elevator, etc.) and adding building materials (metal doors, concrete walls, etc.) to design optimized networks that overcome coverage barriers. You can design for indoor area coverage and outdoor point-to-point connectivity.
The ezWiFi Planner intelligently calculates coverage for optimal access point (AP) placement, and auto-adjusts to the local Wi-Fi channel regulations of your project. Color-coded heat-maps visualize the placement and signal strength of each access point to create a concrete plan.
The EnGenius ezWiFi Planner tool is completely integrated into the EnGenius’ managed cloud offering. Use the ezWiFi Planner to create an initial access point layout, and then import the floor plans into the cloud.
Wi-Fi Network Health Check at a Glance
A deployed Wi-Fi network isn’t any good if you can’t keep track of its health. Even the best Wi-Fi deployments will experience intermittent issues, bottlenecks, and coverage lapses. An event might bring a large number of users to a single location, or an access point might experience interference from an unknown source. IT users must have constant updates about the status of their network. The only way to fix or anticipate issues is if you have a simple and full insight into what is happening in your Wi-Fi right now.
The EnGenius Cloud dashboard provides a holistic and full view of the network health across deployment locations. The EnGenius managed cloud solution uses radar charts to create an overall score based on AP congestion rate, CPU/memory utilization, throughput, and other factors. IT users can track the number of devices and clients accessing the network and their status.
IT managers quickly browse through any device’s primary information to pinpoint problems, review device details, and perform troubleshooting.
Wi-Fi Application (Layer 7) Traffic Analysis
When there are issues, it can help to know what devices are using what types of traffic on what APs – sometimes the problem might just be too many 4K video streams in the same location! Pinpointing traffic types for a particular device in a particular location is a powerful tool for diagnosing Wi-Fi networking problems. Video streaming applications, peer-to-peer, or web surfing can all cause bottlenecks on a single AP and diminish performance for people in that coverage area.
During periods of heavy traffic, managed cloud software provides IT a way to understand the application source of the traffic increase. The EnGenius Cloud solution displays the data collected by the Layer 7 deep packet inspection (DPI) engine embedded in the APs. The engine allows IT admins to see who is doing what, where. It also eliminates the need to add any additional L7 traffic boxes to your Wi-Fi network (which can slow down traffic).
Topology View with Speed Testing for Wi-Fi Networks
Besides detecting performance issues, IT admins need a quick and dependable way to view the entire network. The view needs to be customizable so that you can see not just hierarchical network structures, but also logical groupings for departments, functions, etc.
EnGenius Cloud depicts the relationships between managed switches and APs in a single topological overview. IT users can use our managed cloud software to locate a specific switch and switch port that is connected to a problematic AP to see if there is an issue with the AP. They can then act to fix a problem, such as remotely resetting the AP.
EnGenius Cloud can also test the internet access speed between a device and EnGenius Cloud, so an IT user can determine if WAN speed or LAN link issues are the source of the problem.
AI-Driven Advisories for Your Wi-Fi
One of the most challenging jobs for IT is diagnosing a technical problem from customers’ vague and non-technical descriptions. For example, “cannot access the Internet” very well may be true, and might be the fault of the network, but there are many potential issues that can cause this. They all require different approaches to further investigate and correctly respond.
EnGenius Cloud helps IT users resolve problems using educational visual tools to resolve potential issues. The AI-based Advisory Feature looks into the average patterns of the AP to understand if it’s an abnormal situation and will give warnings based off those changes. For example, it allows you to see channel interference between APs or other devices and lets the IT user drill down into the details in order to decide what action should be taken, and where.
The EnGenius Managed Cloud Solution Visualizes Your Wi-Fi Network
For small to medium business and enterprises that need a simple and central way to see and manage their wireless networks, EnGenius Cloud provides the reliable visualization tools needed for predictive analysis and real-time insights to enable companies to focus on growing their business.
Learn more about the EnGenius Cloud and how our managed cloud solution can help you get better performance from your Wi-Fi networks.
You transmit sensitive data over your network — customer data, payment information, and employee records. And your customers and employees trust you to keep their private information safe. Not to mention, the average cost of a data breach to a company is $3.92 million, according to the 2019 Ponemon Cost of a Data BreachReport.
To prevent breaches, you’ve likely taken the recommended precautions: trained employees on password best practices, installed anti-virus software on your network and reminded employees (and continue to do so) not to click on unknown links. However, Cisco found that 31% of organizations have still experienced cyberattacks on operational infrastructure.
In today’s network, switches and access points (AP) are the cornerstone of the network. This means you must specifically protect your APs and switches from attacks.
Here are two keys to keeping your network secure:
Authenticate every device that is connected to your network. You want to know that every AP and switch on your network is protected and suppose to have access. To increase security, use devices with two-factor authentication, which is when the device requires two different types of proof that the device is permitted on the network. For example, checking the serial number and MAC address verification. This adds an extra level of security and make it harder for unknown devices to connect to your network.
Encrypt data transmissions. Once devices are connected, it’s important that all data transmitted between devices is protected. By using a cloud-management and device manufacturer that creates a secure tunnel between your devices and the cloud, you increase the odds of your data staying secure. Look for a solution that also creates a unique certificate for each transmission for a higher level of security.
You know security is essential. But your time also matters. When you choose a cloud-management solution that actively protects your infrastructure and data, your administrators spend less time protecting the network — while, at the same time, you’ll see a higher level of security. When you choose EnGenius Cloud for your network, all these security features are automatically used to protect your infrastructure, your devices, and your data.
Your company is unique — unique infrastructure, culture, and needs. And to support your company’s growth, you need a network that aligns with your company.
Often, companies are forced to fit themselves into the features and capabilities of their infrastructure. Instead, you deserve a network and systems that let you manage your infrastructure in a way that fits with your processes and requirements. Growing a business is challenging enough without having to change how you work to fit your network.
The Right Network Management Tools
To make the best use of your limited time, you need the status of your network displayed in the most straightforward way for your needs at the time. When choosing a network management solution, look for a vendor that provides these three views:
All devices that your organizations manage: You need to know exactly what switches and APs your organization owns and manages at all times. This includes devices on all networks under your accounts which is especially helpful for managing multiple networks. Additionally, this information helps when expanding or updating your infrastructure because you may be able to move underutilized devices from another network instead of purchasing new infrastructure. EnGenius Cloud’s Inventory view provides an inventory list of all devices registered under an organization in an easy to view format.
All devices that are on your network: If the dashboard indicates a problem or you suspect a problem on a network, you want to quickly get a deep dive on the analytics and performance of all devices in network. When selecting a Network and choosing AP list or Switch list EnGenius Cloud shows you everything you need know about a group of devices or specific devices. These views quickly show channel utilization, free ports, output power, throughput and other configuration and resource information.
A customized view of your infrastructure: Do you have a complex branching network hierarchy? In addition to a group of administrators with total access privileges who manage all the networks, you may have regional IT teams who are responsible for specific networks. These teams have only network management access to their specific network, switches, and APs. EnGenius Cloud lets you create a multi-layered group of networks using the Hierarchical view. With the first layer for managed service tenants, you can then add additional layers that give other team members the access to the network that they need.
For example, if you are managing a network for a retail client, you can set up one layer for all administrators who have full access to all networks that your company manages for clients. Then you can create an additional level that gives the IT administrator for the retail store access to only their networks. With the Hierarchical view, you can easily see information about each layer as well as quickly add and change permissions at each level.
Secure Your Network through User Roles
Each person accessing your network has different needs. To protect your network and data, it’s important that every user have the correct permissions and access. If you limit someone’s access too much, they can’t do their job correctly; but if the wrong person has more privileges than they need, the network is at risk. By choosing a cloud network management solution that allows custom user roles, you give everyone the right level of access — not too much or too little.
With EnGenius Cloud, you can choose from two levels: administrators with full-access privileges, and viewers with read-only privileges. Sometimes an administrator may only need full privileges to a specific network, and not all the networks managed in the account. EnGenius Cloud lets you further define access by being able to grant each role permissions on either the organizational level or for a specific network.
For example, if a consultant is working on a specific project, you can assign them the Administrator role for the specific network — while your IT team has Administrator access to all networks in the organization.
Your organization likely has a complex web of multiple networks and users. You need a cloud management solution that allows you to manage the network most efficiently with the highest level of performance. By using EnGenius Cloud, you can work the way that make sense for your organization instead of being forced to change your processes or compromise on your needs.
With the launch of every new cellular standard, the doomsayers come out in force declaring that Wi-Fi is dead. Both 3G and 4G LTE were supposed to make Wi-Fi redundant, and neither of those predictions came true, and the same thing is being said about 5G as well.
Now the advent of 5G networks does promise to bring next level speed, capacity, and reliability to cellular networks and that will have a far more significant impact than just making your smartphone faster. 5G has the potential to accelerate the development of self-driving cars, take drone usage to new heights (excuse the pun) and enable virtual and augmented reality to be enjoyed outside of the home.
However, the current hype around 5G is almost endless, with much of the noise from the cellular network providers aiming at the cable broadband companies and home networking. 5G devices and networks are still in the nascent stage of delivery, and pricing is still relatively unknown as carriers test market acceptance and competition starts to heat up.
5G technology uses higher “millimeter” frequencies to enable more communication channels to be simultaneously carried than current cellular technologies, with each channel moving higher data rates. However, millimeter waves can cover a much shorter range than existing 3G and 4G transmission towers implying that many more cell towers will be needed to cover a given area – increasing the costs to deploy.
Now, there are real situations where 5G connectivity will disrupt the cable networks and potentially out-pace legacy Wi-fi systems – especially in more remote areas. But the story is more than just a simplistic either/or scenario – it goes much deeper than that.
Firstly, Wi-Fi standards aren’t standing still – the latest high-efficiency wireless, 802.11ax or Wi-Fi 6 standard began rolling out in 2018 and allows home Wi-Fi networks to reach Gigabit speeds and reduce latency across the network. However, neither of these new network technologies solve the most common issue faced around the home – that of Wi-Fi or cellular dead spots.
In contrast, mesh networks have been developed to take the incoming cable signal and propagate it around the house or office seamlessly. This allows customers to use the best value incoming broadband connection and spread it as far as they need.
The most significant advantage of wireless mesh networks — as opposed to wired or fixed wireless networks — is that they are genuinely wireless while also meeting customer demands for high-speed, reliable performance, particularly when compared to regular Wi-Fi networks.
Most traditional Wi-fi systems need each access point to be wired to a router or a range extender, and in large wireless networks, Ethernet cables need to be buried in ceilings and walls and throughout public areas.
In a wireless mesh network, only one node needs to be physically wired to the incoming internet signal – whether that be a cable broadband connection or a mobile broadband link. That node then shares its internet connection wirelessly with all other nodes in its vicinity – when nodes are added they increase the size of the wireless network.
This means that mesh network routers can provide enhanced reliability and better speeds when compared to regular Wi-Fi routers. Mesh network nodes cooperate with each other, and in the unlikely event that a node fails or needs restarting, the mesh system will “self-heal” and route data via other nodes – enabling the system to continue without interruption.
Nodes can be added simply and easily to a system and can eliminate dead spots even in hard to reach basements or internal rooms where getting a cell signal can be impossible.
Every day more of our industry is moving to cloud-based network management. Small and medium-sized businesses are making the jump for greater network scalability and agility, and easier device management.
In fact, IDC reports that cloud-managed networks made up 26% of all deployments in 2017. And that will increase to 38% by 2022. But consider this: the most forward-thinking businesses demand even more benefits before connecting to the cloud.
At EnGenius, we’ve been thinking a lot about how we could help you leverage the advantages of cloud computing and advance ahead of the competition.
We’ve got deep experience with earlier cloud solutions, including on-premises server-based, virtual machine-based, and Docker-based cloud. But we uncovered drawbacks with them–ranging from inadequate data protection to inability to scale, and poor performance at capacity.
To overcome these issues, we developed the EnGenius Cloud solution on next-generation, serverless Function-as-a-Service (FaaS) architecture. FaaS increases utilization rate as well as improves performance for each function. And it streamlines component redundancy in cloud infrastructure and performs backup and restoration wherever your network data lives.
With FaaS, scaling takes just microseconds, saving significant time and money. This is in stark contrast to scaling on server-based cloud, which typically requires investment in additional servers and copying all relevant files to them—taking several days or months.
EnGenius Cloud: the Future of Cloud Management Don’t waste your time and resources with inadequate cloud architecture. I encourage you to embrace the future—serverless EnGenius Cloud. You’ll really be able to count on an SLA level of 99.99 percent. That’s the advantage of always-on cloud delivered applications.
We also ensure that you’ll be ready for artificial intelligence (AI). EnGenius Cloud is developed with the future of AI in mind and is designed to easily add modules and perform AI analysis, machine learning, and correlative advisory for troubleshooting. We’ve already started implementing features that are enhancing EnGenius Cloud, so soon you’ll be able to leverage AI in managing your most complex challenges.
I’ve saved one of the best benefits for last. Serverless cloud pays off. In fact, research from Libhive and Heavywater says moving from server-based to serverless cloud delivers cost savings of up to 90 percent. We pass that savings directly on to you—our solution is completely license-free.
The hype around the smart home appears to be dropping off, with “smart speakers” such as Amazon’s Alexa looking to steal the thunder from intelligent lighting, heating, and security applications – and even dare I say it, the much-maligned smart refrigerator!
While it’s nice to have lights that automatically switch on when you get home in the dark, the real intelligence behind systems and how they integrate is still lacking. We currently have a wide variety of technologies that offer a compelling vision of the future, but a delivery of the concept is impeded by the fact devices are isolated and unable to act autonomously together – the consumer must still provide the “smarts” to the home.
Despite this, a recent GMSA report suggested that by 2020 the average connected home would house around 50 connected or internet of things (IoT) devices. According to Gartner, there were some 6.4 billion IoT units installed worldwide in 2016, and that number should now exceed 11 billion!
Most households already have multiple smartphones, tablets, speakers, gaming consoles and TV streaming devices connected to the network with at least one device in use in as many as three different rooms at once. According to the Consumer Technology Association nearly 30 million smart home products are predicted to be sold in 2019 – that is 23% more than 2018.
Even at this level of connectivity, the traditional “one router per home” model is creaking under strain. Reliable internet is no longer deemed a luxury but a necessity, and consumers are already saying they cannot compromise on Wi-Fi in the same way they cannot compromise, or water, heating or other basic needs.
When this burden on existing home networking infrastructure is increased five-fold or more, the pressure will become too large and smart home devices rendered useless. For example, an unreliable internet connection could prevent security cameras from recording an intruder or triggering an alarm notification to go off.
Fortunately, all is not lost. A new networking paradigm is already here in the form of mesh networks. Mesh networks are designed to replace complicated router-and-extender setups with multiple identical nodes being placed around the home to create a large cloud of Wi-Fi coverage. The nodes are designed to be used in tandem and don’t build separate networks – so wherever you go within the cloud, you’ll always be seamlessly and automatically connected to the nearest node.
The mesh network nodes allow data to be routed directly the where it needs to go within the network without having to be sent to the router and back. This reduces the burden on the router; furthermore, if a device is in proximity to more than one node, it can connect to all those nodes in range and benefit from the improved bandwidth the multiple nodes provide.
Smart home mesh networks use in-built intelligent sensors to automatically detect and reroute data along the fastest, most intelligent path to enable you to take full advantage of the internet. In the unlikely event that a node should fail, the rest of the mesh system will continue to operate unperturbed and data routed around the failed node to ensure continuity of service. Modern mesh systems have another advantage in that they can be set to automatically access security updates so that you can keep your data and devices secure.
So whether it’s a new smart TV, a home security system or an intelligent kitchen device make sure you can benefit from your smart home investments by pairing them with a quality mesh network that won’t let you or your smart devices down.
Unless you’ve lived in a cave over the last few years, you most likely have noticed that that mesh Wi-Fi networking products are slowly but steadily entering the homes of families all across the developed world. With its attractive pricing, mesh networking solutions are becoming more and more accessible to the masses. Even if you are not as familiar to what mesh networks do, you most likely have already been connected to such broadband networks once or twice without even realizing it is a mesh network. Most large-scale facilities that offer Wi-Fi access such as busy airports, exhibition halls, hotels, and hospitals tend to use manageable and more secure guest and staff internet access solutions that are often supported by the mesh technology.
This most likely does not come as a surprise, at the end of the day, those are the places that cannot compromise on providing reliable and high-speed broadband solutions to its staff and customers. The need for such sophisticated technology that can handle a vast amount of simultaneous connections might be a perfect fit for a busy concert hall but why would you need a mesh router at home? We’ve compiled a list of top five reasons why home mesh networks are getting more and more popular.
Meeting high demands
Researchers have been racing each other to confirm that over the next years more connected devices are coming to your home. Currently, US families have an average of nearly ten connected devices per household, and the number is likely to double over the next few years as more and more appealing smart gadgets are appearing on the horizon. In the US alone, people will have approximately 15 connected devices per household over the next few years. Mesh Wi-Fi networks are meant to handle vast amounts of connections to meet the future demands making sure all your connected devices get the bandwidth needed to run smooth.
One of the most common misconceptions about mesh products is that they are not easy to set up and require special technical skills. With the latest wave of consumer mesh routers appearing on the market, there are some pretty good contenders out there that do not require anything but your smartphone for the setup. Say no to the dead Wi-Fi spots in your house – you no longer need a separate router with a different network to make things work around your home. Mesh networks are easy to manage and expand, as simple plug-and-play products are readily available to make your life easier.
Reliability and speeds
What makes mesh routers particularly useful is their reliability and better speeds when compared to regular Wi-Fi routers. Meshnets in general consist of nodes that connect to each other and cooperate to let you efficiently transfer data between you and your ISP. In the rare occurrence of a node failing, the rest of the mesh system will continue to function without any interruptions. The speeds on mesh networks are also significantly higher when compared to regular routers. If you use a network extender, the communication goes directly to your router and then gets rebroadcasted – this practice increases the latency and significantly decreases the overall data speeds. There are no such issues when you have a Wi-Fi mesh network!
Unlike most regular routers, modern mesh systems update their firmware on their own. You no longer have to frequently check your routers’ web pages and look for the right security updates needed to remain safe. And some families currently have multiple regular routers used to cover blind spots around the house. Do you know what is more difficult than maintaining one network? Taking care of two networks. With mesh systems, all your internet access points are part of one simple network that you can easily navigate from the palm of your hand and the comfort of your sofa by using a smartphone.
Mesh Wi-Fi routers are far more superior than regular routers in terms of security, reliability, speeds, and network management. However, what makes mesh networks elevate above the good old routers, is the fact that mesh routers often come with additional smart features. While regular routers are on place to simply provide internet, the mesh routers of 21st century come with a whole lot of additional intelligent features such as an app that allows you to download and organize your files wherever you are. Uploading your vacation images to your home external hard drive while you are still on vacation is no longer a distant dream.
Quality mesh networking devices are the key to powering up your smart home. Taking full advantage of your internet is not possible without a reliable home Wi-Fi network. Running all these smart gadgets on an unstable network could be compared to buying a new Ferrari but refusing to fill up the tank with premium unleaded gasoline. Poor network coverage can render all your expensive smart devices useless and ruin your smart-home experience. Reliable internet is no longer a luxury but a necessity, poor internet can prevent your security cameras from recording an intruder, or from your ability to monitor your little one while in the crib. Luckily, you are in safe hands as there are some quality mesh router solutions out there!
Hotel guests spend a great deal of time, effort, energy, and expense getting to their desired hotel locations. Successful hoteliers honor that energy and expense spent by ensuring their guests have a positive, five-star-worthy experience on their property.
Wireless technologies can make a huge impact on guest experiences. That’s why some “64% of U.S. hotel guests say it is ‘very or extremely important’ for hotels to continue investing in technology to enhance the guest experience,” according to an Oracle Hospitality-Phocuswright study.
Check out the infographic below for seven ways that hoteliers can use wireless technologies to offer outstanding guest experiences. (If you have more time to read, check out our How-to Guide: Wi-Fi & Voice Communications for Your Hospitality Clients. This e-book equips you with what you need to convince your hotelier clients that they must fortify their hospitality Wi-Fi.).
When you offer strong, steady, and more reliable wireless communications to your hospitality clients, you help them raise their level of customer service, which in turn deepens your clients’ relationship with you. After all, leading hoteliers know the importance of wireless technologies: 46% of them have made enhancing digital experiences a top strategic tool for improving customer loyalty.
Give your hospitality clients solid examples of just how wireless technologies can help garner more business and elevate their company by sharing this collection of case studies with them. In doing so, you let your hospitality clients know that you understand the hospitality market and how your services can enable them to succeed in it.
Moreover, you understand that much of today’s hoteliers’ success now depends on the quality and reliability of its wireless tech:
• 94% of business travelers consider Wi-Fi a must, according to a recent Forrester report. • 89% of guests decide where to lodge based on free reliable Wi-Fi, according to the 2018 Lodging Technology Study. • 80% or more of all travelers tote their smartphones, laptops, and tablets to hotels.
To find out how seven companies enhanced their business by using EnGenius products and solutions for their wireless communications, download our FREE Hospitality Success Stories e-book.
WiFi is hands-down the most desired amenity of business travelers today. (In fact, leading hoteliers would call WiFi a basic amenity, as desired as heat, electricity, and water.)
A staggering 94% of business travelers consider it a must, according to a recent Forrester report. As proof to the prevalence of WiFi, more than 80% of all travelers tote their smartphones, laptops, and tablets to hotels.
But merely offering Wi-Fi isn’t going to garner any five-star reviews for lodging. Guests now demand strong, reliable WiFi—WiFi that won’t disappoint them with the endless wheel of buffering, dropped connections, or irritating lags.
Providing guests with stellar WiFi is to provide an overall stellar guest experience. You can use WiFi to bolster how you serve your hotel guests and give them a hotel experience worthy of thumbs up, five stars, and praiseworthy online reviews.
Your guests have devoted time, energy, and expense to come to your hotel. Honor your guests by making their hotel experience stress-free from the moment they check in.
“A successful check-in is not only fast but also engaging for guests,” states a Hotel Management article. “Guests do not enjoy being in the dark about what is happening during check-in, and they will grow restless if they are standing in place while hotel employees type away on a computer for an extended period of time.”
Instead of bottlenecking the check-in counter, equip hospitality staff with Wi-Fi-enabled devices. Your hotel guests can check in from different places on your property and avoid getting caught in a long queue, especially during peak hours.
2. Enable personalized in-room entertainment for your guests
Part of vacationing is spending time in one’s hotel room and just relaxing. That’s why a full 75% of guests use in-room entertainment, according to a recent study. However, struggling with buffering, dropped, or lagging Wi-Fi is anything but relaxing. Make sure, therefore, that your hotel Wi-Fi can handle the streaming demands of your customers’ devices.
“About 53% of hoteliers plan to make some change with smart TVs and/or technologies that enable guests to stream content, placing the technology as the top guest-facing priority,” according to a recent study.
3. Offer digital menus in your hotel dining room
Another indicator that your hotel has made your guests’ experience a top priority is to extend your wireless capabilities beyond the front desk and their suites to reach guests in the hotel dining room.
For example, offer your guests digital menus instead of printed ones (which can get faded and disgusting with overuse and time). Hotel guests can choose for themselves from a digital menu. Doing so can eliminate incorrect orders, cater to their specific needs (such as for gluten-free or vegan meals), and enable easy updating of new dishes or eliminating old ones.
“Digital menus ensure speed in delivering the right information at the right time and at the right place,” states a NextRestaurant article.
Building an outdoor network in a tough environment? Make sure the access points that you choose can handle the harsh demands of the outdoors.
One major consideration in deciding which products to use is their IP (Ingress Protection) rating. By knowing the product’s IP rating, you know whether your chosen access points can take the specific demands of your environment.
So, what exactly does an IP rating mean?
Understanding an IP Rating
Ingress means “the action of going in or entering.” For example, an ingress of dust means roughly that the product is “dust-tight.”
In IP ratings, the first number is how the materials resist solid objects getting into the housing; and the second number rates how well the device keeps water away from critical device components:
IP65 – rated as dust tight and protected against water projected from a nozzle
IP66 – rated as dust tight and protected against heavy seas or powerful jets of water
IP67 – rated as dust tight and protected against immersion for 30 minutes at depths 150mm – 1000mm
IP68 – rated as dust tight and protected against complete, continuous submersion in water
To decide what type of rating your desired device should have, keep in mind the factors of that environment.
When you think of environment, you may immediately consider its temperature first.
Extreme Heat High temperatures can also affect your Internet connection. Heat can affect the access point by causing the expansion of the hardware. It also can melt the casing if it hasn’t been designed for high temperatures.
Extreme Cold Likewise, extreme cold can alter the reliability of your wireless connection. The hardware can freeze. Or if the access point has ice covering it, you have to manually chip off the icing, and even then, you’re not guaranteed that the access point will work once again.
Not Just About the Temperature
When you think of a harsh environment, you may think of blistering heat or teeth-chattering cold. However, a tough environment is any that causes great wear and tear on your access point.
For example, dust, water, and high winds can significantly affect your access point and thereby, your signal.
Dust When you place an access point in a dusty environment, such as a construction site or factory, you run the risk of causing the scattering of Wi-Fi signals. That means that the Wi-Fi signals will go in all different directions rather than solely in the desired direction.
Water If water enters an antenna, the RF path’s quality can be compromised. Areas in which there are constant rains, extreme humidity, snowstorms, or fog need access points that can tackle those risks. Water can infiltrate the access points, affect the connectors and transmission lines, and cause mechanical issues.
Moreover, water can refract waves, so it can affect the reliability of the connection.
Rain may also cause attenuation (weakening) of point-to-point links. If the access point is in an environment where tropical rains are constant or one of high humidity, attenuation values up to 30 dB are possible.
An Access Point That Excels in Tough Environments
Now that you know the value of an IP rating for access points and what to keep in mind when picking out an access point for your outdoor network, consider our EnGenius wireless outdoor access point.
The EnGenius ENH1350EXT combines a ruggedized IP67-rated enclosure with 802.11ac Wave 2 wireless speeds up to 1,300 Mbps. Plus, a GigE PoE-compatible port makes for easy placement where power outlets are scare.
Some 65% of customers prefer to contact a business by phone while only 24% are satisfied with just a web form for product purchases or service subscriptions, according to a study by Invoca.
Despite the dramatic increase in web-based business options, an effective phone system remains one of your most essential business tools. After all, more than half of consumers still rely on phone calls to complete their business transactions. And what about customer support? Customers continue to prefer verbal phone support to other methods, like instant messaging.
Some businesses struggle, however, to find a long-range cordless phone system that will support their challenging operating environments. Common issues include:
DuraFon long-range phone systems deliver extreme coverage, ruggedized and durable handsets, and mobility essential to running a successful business. The handsets also function as two-way radios in intercom and broadcast mode, ensuring your team can communicate with each other – perhaps the most essential type of business communication.
Q & A Webinar: You Asked About Long-Range Phone Solutions & We Answered!
At our most recent telecom webinar, moderators Doug and Dan answered more than 20 questions about EnGenius phone systems.
Top 5 Customer Questions
1. Q: Why choose an EnGenius cordless phone system?
A: The main reason people purchase EnGenius phones is for extreme range. DuraFon handsets are also strong and durable.
2. Q: Which types of environments are these systems suited for?
A: These systems are designed for large environments where staff members need communication devices paired with mobility to perform their duties. Examples include retail stores, warehouses, equipment yards, farms, ranches, and hotels.
3. Q: How do I select the right model for our use?
A: We offer many different models to meet user demands, so you’ll need to determine the following:
• How many users you have
• How many wireless extensions you need
• Whether you want to use third-party two-way radios in conjunction with the long-range phone system
(which is possible with the DuraFon UHF)
You’ll then be able to determine which model is right for you.
4. Q: Can the handsets be repaired even if they’re outside the 1-year warranty period?
A: Yes, they can be repaired for up to five years. We refurbish them, so they look like new when they’re returned. They get new front and back covers, new keypads, and a new front lens.
5. Q: How do I test for coverage in our facility?
A: The best method for testing coverage is to use the RSSI tool which is built into each of our handsets. All you need to do is register the handset to the base.
The RSSI tool will give you a numeric measurement of the signal. This number allows you to move around the facility and test the handset signal strength to the base. If you’re getting a consistently strong measurement, you’re good to go. (If you find an area that has a weak signal, go back and move the base to an area that provides better overall coverage.)
The RSSI document describes how to use the RSSI tool, what good measurements are, and how to make adjustments to maximize signal and coverage. The RSSI document can be found on the respective product pages.
More Q & A is Headed Your Way
The first Q & A webinar was very well received. We’ll be hosting another session with a new batch of questions soon!
Your company’s success will always hinge on effective communication. You can rely on EnGenius to help provide the communications information, the products, and the support you need.
Auto dealership sales staff turnover is extremely high. In fact, annual turnover for sales staffers is a whopping 67%, according to Automotive News. So, what can auto dealerships do to help retain their staff (and their customers)?
Long-range phones can help auto dealers with this tough challenge. Something as simple as issuing sales staff the right long-range and durable phone can help auto dealerships to:
• Maintain control of customer calls • Retain customers in the event a salesperson moves on • Reduce the amount spent on cell service reimbursement • Improve customer service and overall efficiency
Increase Productivity & Efficiency
DuraFonphone systems and accessories can help your auto dealership run more smoothly by providing exceptional coverage, call control, and mobility that desk phones and cell phones can’t match. Just consider all the employees, departments, and business areas you need to coordinate to provide the best in customer service:
• Sales • Financing • Service • Parts & accessories • Back lot/storage • Management • Vehicle management
Want to learn more about how DuraFon and DuraFon accessories can boost your automotive business? Come to our free telephony webinar at EnGenius on July 24: Long-Range Phones in the Auto Industry
Not Just for Auto Dealerships
Though the free webinar focuses on auto dealers and the automotive industry, many of its ideas and principles apply to a wide range of large-scale business environments.
In this case, “large-scale” means any business environment with vast amounts of space that need phone coverage including:
Find out how our DuraFon phone systems and accessories can resolve your struggle to provide adequate communications coverage. They can connect areas of your business property that seemed out of reach with standard telephony equipment.
Get a sneak peek at some of the benefits by reading this case study, which details how a sales manager at Mike Perry Chrysler Jeep Dodge relies on DuraFon as an essential business tool.
What are case studies and why should you care about them? A case study is an empirical inquiry that investigates a phenomenon within its real-life context, according to Wikipedia. Our EnGenius case studies investigate the “phenomenon” of how our telephony and Wi-Fi products solve problems for our small-to-midsize business customers in their real-life contexts.
These case studies share real-life deployments of EnGenius datacom and telecom products, and feature a wide range of product uses that you may not have considered before. If you’ve been thinking about deploying a new technology and wonder whether the product is right for you, our case studies offer examples of obstacles, solutions, and suggested products.
50+ EnGenius Case Studies Featuring Small-to-Midsize Businesses
The details of real-life deployments are laid out in more than 50 handy-dandy case studies. Some examples:
EnGenius Cloud is for SMBs and enterprises who need to manage their wireless networks easily and securely without servers.
EnSky Series provides high-speed Wi-Fi to support treatment, patients, and guests at nursing and rehabilitation centers.
DuraFon PRO connects staff members in a densely packed mid-rise building in Manhattan, providing reliable communication where all other methods failed.
A Case Study for Everyone
EnGenius case studies feature products from both our networking and telephony product lines – from indoor access points and switches to DuraFon SIP systems with ruggedized handsets. To see case studies focused on a particular product, sort by Product Category.
As for the industries the Case Studies cover, let’s just say the keyword is “variety.”
And these are just a few of the varied places our product has been deployed!
With over 15 different industry categories to choose from, you may find it helpful to sort by Vertical/Industry for quicker results. Otherwise, feel free to peruse our lineup of case studies to see which ones catch your eye. In fact, we suggest just looking around. You may discover a device/tool that solves a problem you hadn’t even identified yet!
Case Studies = Customer Service
We hope you enjoy both our current and upcoming case studies. Here at EnGenius, we strive to meet the needs and exceed the expectations of our customers. Our goal is to be your business’s ultimate resource for all things wireless communication, whether network or telephone-related.
Are You Ready to Collaborate?
Are you interested in partnering with us on a case study by sharing your story, via phone, with an EnGenius staff writer? Please contact us if you’re interested in sharing your “real-life context” with our community!
Ready? Set. Go!
Don’t delay — jump right into our pool of case studies today!
More than 6 million North Americans have adopted the camping lifestyle, according to the 2018 North American Camping Report. But they’re not ditching the Wi-Fi when they go camping.
In fact, they expect reliable, steady Wi-Fi in the great outdoors. A whopping 97% said they take technology with them while camping. Plus, “4 out of 10 camper households overall say access to cell service or Wi-Fi impacts the amount they camp,” states the report.
As the demand of near-continuous Internet connectivity continues to increase, successful campground and RV park owners must provide this amenity to campers, RV park guests, and staff members. After all, free Wi-Fi ranks as the fifth most important campground amenity.
Before you start preparing your wireless network site plan for your campground or RV park, ask yourself these questions.
Where does the Internet service enter your property?
Understand how you are going to deliver Wi-Fi to your staff, campers, and RV guests. The location of the Internet Service Provider’s (ISP) equipment will help you determine what is needed, such as Ethernet cabling, network Power-over-Ethernet (PoE) switches and/or wireless access points to deliver that service to your users.
How much bandwidth are you receiving from your ISP?
The amount of bandwidth you receive from your ISP determines the maximum speed you can offer your staff, campers, and RV guests.
More bandwidth lets more users to connect and allows you to provide higher-quality Wi-Fi services. Consider increasing your bandwidth to ensure a positive Wi-Fi experience for all guests.
What quality of service or level of access do you want to provide your guests?
When you know the quality of service to offer to your staff, campers, and RV guests, you can then determine the best placement for your access points. Common offerings include hotspot service, individual campsite/cabin/RV site service, and complete park services.
What is the construction of your buildings?
Wireless signals degrade when traveling through different materials. Concrete, wood, metal siding, fiberglass, and/or rebar can result in different levels of Wi-Fi signal degradation.
Understanding the construction of your walls, ceilings, and floors (in multi-level buildings) will help determine the quantity and appropriate placement of your wireless access points.
Do you have Ethernet cable running out to each building or desired Wi-Fi location?
Having the proper, shielded Ethernet cable already run to buildings or centralized locations makes the deployment of Wi-Fi very easy.
Don’t have it? Then implement a secure wireless link or wireless bridge to carry the signal to a designated location. Doing so will avoid the need for additional cabling and costs, and spare you the hassle of permits.
When considering a wireless bridge, use one that supports the same wireless speeds as the rest of your network. The more speed that the link provides, the better the experience for the camper.
Make Sure Your Home Wi-Fi Can Handle the Demand of Watching FIFA World Cup 2018
The biggest sporting event in the world, FIFA World Cup 2018 begins this June 13. Every four years, the best soccer tournament (“football” if you’re anywhere outside the United States) transforms the globe, uniting far-flung friends and family under their national team’s banner & bringing millions of fans together in sports pubs and stadiums. Thirty-two national teams will take part in the global tournament, and matches will be held in 11 cities throughout the host country of Russia.
Think we’re spouting hyperbole? Consider this: During the last FIFA World Cup, “more than one billion fans tuned in to watch the final of the 2014 World Cup Brazil, with the competition reaching a global in-home television audience of 3.2. billion people,” according to FIFA and Kantar Media.
Plus, more than 280 million people watched matches online or on a mobile device. If you’re one of the passionate soccer enthusiasts who will be breathing, living, and dreaming FIFA matches from June 14 to July 15, 2018, you’ll want to have continuous, drop-free Wi-Fi as you watch.
Did the team you’re rooting for make its PK? Why did the defender get a yellow card? Who knows? You’re waiting for the connection to become smoother.
You don’t want to miss a minute of a match (even if it goes into extra time and has anxiety-provoking penalty kicks), so you’ll want the latest and greatest in home Wi-Fi.
Make sure your home Wi-Fi offers…
Ultrafast 11ac Wave 2. You’ll want the blazing-fast AC2200 speed to provide buffer-free video and audio. Also, you’re going to want Wi-Fi that offers smooth HD streaming and rapid-file loading. No drops. No interruptions.
Beamforming. Don’t miss that exact second when your team connects perfectly and scores a goal. Beamforming means you continuously get the optimal signal and reception on devices as you move around the house.
Wall-to-wall coverage. Choose a mesh network system that covers your entire home, not just the busy areas. When you combine a mesh router and a pod in a whole-home Wi-Fi system, you can keep your network lightning-fast and efficient everywhere. After all, imagine the game going into stoppage time and having the Wi-Fi drop just because you went to get a drink from the kitchen?
Complete control. You’ll want to share the latest available Wi-Fi tech easily and securely with guest users and make sure you have the fastest connection speeds. Plus, you’ll want to wield parental control. (Playing online games while matches are on and slowing down the Wi-Fi? That’s not happening on your watch!)
You’ll also want to have control over the amount of time users spend on the Wi-Fi. (Probably not during World Cup season, though.)
Whether you’re watching World Cup 2018 matches at home by yourself or hosting a party, make sure you’ve got the latest and greatest Wi-Fi. You won’t be screaming only at the refs if your team gets a bad call if the Wi-Fi drops. At EnGenius, our Whole Home Wi-Fican drape your entire home in continuous, uncompromising ultra-fast Wi-Fi.
Here at EnGenius, we work hard to provide you with both the information and the cutting-edge tools you need to succeed. Your business wins are our wins, too, and we thrive on finding ways to make your life easier. Enter our End-to-End Solution, designed especially for our Elite Partners!
What is the End-to-End Solution, anyway? It’s our ongoing effort to empower you to approach and win new wireless networking projects, with expert advice from start to finish. We guide you through 3 Simple Steps to Build Your Wi-Fi Business that will help you to retain and build your customer base.
Simple Steps to Success with EnGenius
1. Establish a Solid Plan with EnGenius’ Network Design Tool 2. Recommend the Appropriate Hardware 3. Use EnGenius’ Network Management Software to Retain Existing Customers & Win New Ones!
Step ONE – Establish a Solid Plan Using ezWiFi Planner
The first step in working with any client is understanding their needs, environment, and budget to help you plan. Our new software tool, ezWiFi Planner, will guide you through the rest! Our license-free ezWiFi Planner helps you design the best possible network quickly and easily. Design, analyze, and optimize your projects with the touch of a button!
ezWiFi Planner will model your client’s environment by building out walls, doors, and other network obstacles, and uses an advanced algorithm to optimally place AP’s based on the information you’ve provided. From Build of Materials to Installation Costs, ezWiFi Planner helps you to generate a thorough and complete picture of the project before you move on to hardware selection.
Better yet, ezWiFi Planner generates customizable reports that are perfect for presenting to clients as part of your proposal. Color-coded heat maps illustrate the placement and signal strength of each access point, and you may choose to include other data, like AP model data.
Step TWO: Recommend the Appropriate Hardware
Once your network plan is ready, it is time to recommend the optimal hardware to your client. Happily, EnGenius Elite Partners have access to a comprehensive line of products that are sure to meet your clients’ needs.
Our product line includes the latest technology, price points to fit virtually all budgets, equipment form-factors to suit all environments, and point-to-point solutions to create building-to-building connectivity.
Step THREE: Maximize Efficiency with Our License-Free Network Management Software!
Once you have planned the network and selected the hardware your client needs, EnGenius’ Network Management Software, ezMaster, will help you deploy and maintain your network quickly and easily. Simply upload your ezWiFi floor plans into ezMaster and let the software work its magic!
Auto-Provisioning and Group Configuration will significantly reduce deployment time, saving you time and money. ezMaster offers a wealth of monitoring, maintenance and troubleshooting options, from visual tools and real-time statistics to historical statistics. You can also easily add customers to your portfolio, allowing you to manage more customers – remotely and efficiently.
Become an Elite Partner today!
We are 100% focused on maximizing your success, efficiency, and business growth potential, so visit our Elite Partner page and register today. Take advantage of the EnGenius End-to-End Solution and build your business with our support, product line, and tools! You’ll be glad you did.
Wi-Fi Channels on the 2.4 GHz band On the 2.4 GHz band (802.11b/g/n) in North America, there are 11 channels of 20 MHz size allowed by the FCC. Some or all of channels 12-14 are allowed in some other countries, such as Japan. Unfortunately, the center frequencies of channels 1-13 are only 5 MHz apart, leading to only three non-overlapping channels, as shown in Figure 1.
Figure 1: 20 MHz channels on the 2.4 GHz frequency band.1
The 802.11n spec allows for the optional use of 40 MHz channels on the 2.4 GHz band, by bonding two adjacent channels together. However, given that the entire usable band in 2.4 GHz is only 72 MHz wide, there are no two 40 MHz channel sizes that are independent, as shown in Figure 2. This limitation makes the use of 40 MHz channels completely impractical in multi-AP deployments, though it is still unfortunately fairly common to see in practice as most vendors allow this channel width in their default settings.
Figure 2: 40 MHz channels on the 2.4 GHz frequency band.1
Given the restrictions on the number of independent channels and how that decreases as the channel width increases, poor channelization will create AP-to-AP interference and thus degrade both usage and coverage requirements. On the 2.4 GHz band, only 20 MHz channel sizes should be used, and channels should be deployed across APs with an alternating static 1, 6, 11 scheme, both horizontally and vertically.
Wi-Fi Channels on the 5 GHz band The 5 GHz band is much larger (over 555 MHz, semi-contiguous), so selecting independent channels and using larger widths via bonding neighboring channels is much simpler. 802.11a allowed the use of 20 MHz channels. 802.11n allows the use of 40 MHz channels, and 802.11ac allows the use of up to 80 MHz or 160 MHz channels. This is shown in Figure 3.
Figure 3: Channels on the 5 GHz frequency band.1, 2
The use of 40 MHz channels at 5 GHz with 802.11n is fairly standard practice. In most SMB deployments, we can use 80 MHz channels with 802.11ac, to double the wireless throughput. In instances where a design calls for high client density settings like in convention meeting spaces or large classrooms, or if there is a specific reason to avoid the DFS channels, we can use 80 MHz channels with 802.11ac, and double the wireless throughput. This is the primary advantage of deploying 802.11ac access points vs. 802.11n access points.
The full list of 20 MHz channels available in North America is shown in Table 1. Governmental regulatory agencies in other countries may restrict the use of one or more of these frequency bands and the maximum transmit power at those frequencies. Most access points require that a country be selected in the configuration, which dictates what channels and maximum transmit powers are available.
20 MHz Channels
Central Frequency (MHz)
Total Channel Frequency Range (MHz)
5170 – 5190
5190 – 5210
5210 – 5230
5230 – 5250
5250 – 5270
5270 – 5290
5290 – 5310
5310 – 5330
20 MHz Channels
Central Frequency (MHz)
Total Channel Frequency Range (MHz)
5490 – 5510
5510 – 5530
5530 – 5550
5550 – 5570
5570 – 5590
5590 – 5610
5610 – 5630
5630 – 5650
20 MHz Channels
Central Frequency (MHz)
Total Channel Frequency Range (MHz)
5650 – 5670
5670 – 5690
5690 – 5710
5710 – 5730
5735 – 5755
5755 – 5775
5775 – 5795
5795 – 5815
5815 – 5835
Table 1: 20 MHz channels on the 5 GHz band.
Creating 40 MHz, and larger channels involve bonding multiple neighboring channels together. Each bonded channel has a primary 20 MHz channel that is used when an 802.11n or 802.11ac access point communicates with a legacy 802.11a client or an 802.11n or 802.11ac client that is artificially limited to smaller channels. The other bonded channels are “extension” channels and can be either immediately above (upper) or below (lower) the primary channel.
Unfortunately, there are multiple “standards”—ways of indicating bonded 5 GHz channels— which makes referencing those channels very confusing for Wi-Fi novices and experts alike. The three basic methods are to refer to their bonded channel range, their primary channel with extension for which there are two variants for 40 MHz and four variants for 80 MHz, or their center channels, or frequencies. These are shown for 40 MHz channels in Table 2 and 80 MHz channels in Table 3.
40 MHz Channels
36 – 40
44 – 48
52 – 56
60 – 64
100 – 104
108 – 112
Upper Extension (primary is lowest channel)
Lower Extension (primary is highest channel)
Central Frequency (MHz)
Total Channel Frequency Range (MHz)
5170 – 5210
5210 – 5250
5250 – 5290
5290 – 5330
5490 – 5530
5530 – 5570
40 MHz Channels
116 – 120
124 – 128
132 – 136
140 – 144*
149 – 153
157 – 161
Upper Extension (primary is lowest channel)
Lower Extension (primary is highest channel)
Central Frequency (MHz)
Total Channel Frequency Range (MHz)
5570 – 5610
5610 – 5650
5650 – 5690
5690 – 5730
5730 – 5770
5770 – 5810
Table 2: 40 MHz channels on the 5 GHz band.
80 MHz Channels
36 – 48
52 – 64
100 – 112
116 – 128
132 – 144*
149 – 161
Upper (or Upper-Upper) Extension (primary is lowest channel)
Upper-Lower Extension (primary is 2nd lowest channel)
Lower-Upper Extension (primary is 2nd highest channel)
Lower (or Lower-Lower) Extension (primary is highest channel)
Central Frequency (MHz)
Total Channel Frequency Range (MHz)
5170 – 5250
5250 – 5330
5490 – 5570
5570 – 5650
5650 – 5730
5735 – 5815
Table 3: 80 MHz channels on the 5 GHz band.
Note the asterisk (*) for channel 144. This channel was opened up in March 2014 for use by Wi-Fi in the United States as part of the 802.11ac specification. You will therefore generally not see it as a valid channel option on older 802.11n access points. Furthermore, even on 802.11ac access points, many AP vendors still have firmware that complies with the older FCC specifications- pre-March 2014 and do not recognize Channel 144 as valid for use in the United States. Accordingly, Channel 144 (20 MHz), Channel 140 (40 MHz), and Channel 132 (80 MHz) often cannot be used in static channel plans.
Another complication—the UNII-2 and UNII-2e bands (which cover 2/3 of the frequency space) are still in use by legacy military and commercial weather radar systems. This leads to a requirement known as dynamic frequency selection (DFS), which requires Wi-Fi devices to periodically measure for the presence of such legacy radar systems and move off of the channel for a period if one is detected. Currently, both access points and client devices are responsible for detecting DFS interference from radar devices and, if detected, move off the channel.
Before March 2014, only access points were required to make that detection and channel move, notifying their connected clients to the channel change to encourage them to follow. This was part of the original 802.11h amendment when UNII-2 and UNII-2e were opened up for Wi-Fi. The older rules made more sense from a Wi-Fi operations perspective, as client devices associate with an access point and thus follow the access point’s channel. Unfortunately, many legacy client devices did not know how to interpret the “I am about to change from channel x to channel y” message from the AP and therefore didn’t move off the channel fast enough, which is likely what prompted the rule change.
The unintended consequence of this is that many consumer Wi-Fi device manufacturers decided it was not worth investing in the code to do the DFS detection, and as a result will not operate at all on any of the UNII-2 (52-64) or UNII-2e (100-144) channels. This is why many 802.11n consumer devices supported the UNII-2 and UNII-2e channels, but their newer 802.11ac counterparts do not. Ironically, this also tends to be a limitation of the consumer wireless router products from manufacturers that also make enterprise access point equipment that supports DFS detection.
Fortunately, most phone and tablet manufacturers are not so shortsighted, so iPhones/iPads and most mainstream brands for Android phones/tablets with 802.11ac capability will work on the UNII-2 and UNII-2e bands. Also, fortunately, most consumer client devices are dual-band, so if they do roam to an AP with a 5 GHz channel they do not recognize, they will still connect on the 2.4 GHz radio and be treated as a 2.4 GHz-only client. However, 5 GHz-only consumer devices, such as USB dongles and 802.11ac wireless bridges, may have difficulty connecting in such scenarios.
Editor’s Note: This updated post was originally published in 2015.
Whether you’re using EnGenius Access Points as stand-alone devices or managing them through a local Switch with the built-in controller feature, you may be missing out on some big business benefits. EnGenius’ ezMaster Network Management Software made its debut just two short years ago as a Best of Interop award finalist. Since then, a growing number of managed service providers and network administrators at small to mid-size organizations are saying good-bye to their license and subscription fees and moving to ezMaster.
While ezMaster is full of valuable features that are sure to positively impact your bottom line, here are the top six reasons why you should be using ezMaster to manage your EnGenius network.
1. Resolve Network Issues Remotely Without a doubt, one of the biggest benefits of ezMaster is the ability to access its management dashboard anywhere, anytime, from any Internet-enabled desktop or Android/iOS device. Along with flexible access, network admins can setup customizable email alerts based on predetermined events such as System or Device Status, SSL Certification, Wireless Client Info, and Device Management, Configuration and Firmware Upgrade.
Remote network management and alerts can improve your operational efficiencies, help maintain high customer satisfaction, and cut your truck-roll costs while freeing your staff to do other important things to grow your business.
2. Manage, Monitor & Troubleshoot One or Multiple Networks Can a small team make a big impact with ezMaster? Yes it can. Midwest Internet Solutions (MIS) in Overland Park Kansas is a nationwide full-service MSP supporting some of the largest hotel chains in America. MIS deployed more than 950 EnSky APs and 60 Switches in over 300 customer locations while using ezMaster to monitor all deployed equipment 24/7 from their Network Operations Center in Overland Park.
Each separate network location is viewable as a “project” through ezMaster’s Web-based dashboard making it easy to manage one or multiple networks. Not only can MIS see when an AP or switch is down, they can also troubleshoot and reboot devices remotely in the event of issues. Device inventory lists are quickly accessed across multiple networks, and active and offline devices are visible from the at-a-glance dashboard. Utilizing ezMaster to manage multiple separate networks allows organizations like MIS to scale their operations with minimal staff and without added software costs.
3. Streamline Deployments & Software Upgrades Alleviating the burden of deploying and upgrading multiple access points is reason alone to implement ezMaster. Once the access points are in place, ezMaster’s automated provisioning and intuitive configuration tools will help streamline your AP deployments like never before. Group access points easily within each network project and quickly configure or reconfigure grouped device settings based on a multitude of options. And with one click you can check for available firmware updates, then bulk select the APs you wish to roll out updates to without ever stepping foot onsite.
4. Gain Visibility Into Devices Across the Network Visualization tools and statistics allow you to monitor the overall health of the network. Topology View is one visual that is handy for seeing the connection relationships between switches and APs on the network. You’ll instantly see what devices are online or busy. Topology View, like all of ezMaster’s Visualization tools, is interactive. You can drill right down to a specific switch to change its configurations or jump directly to the individual AP device configuration, reboot the AP or simply remove it.
Map View utilizes Google Map views and is useful for promptly locating APs that are deployed in larger, multi-site deployments. Upload a floor plan into Floor Plan View and, like Map View, you’ll see the AP’s vital stats including its name, MAC address, number of connected clients and status. The Map and Floor Plan are also interactive, allowing you to move to the device configuration page, remove or reboot the AP or click right into the active client stats page where you’ll see individual client device info and bandwidth use, and can kick or ban clients accordingly.
Statistics charts simplify visual analytics by giving you real-time and historical visibility of traffic flow for access points and connected clients. These graphs can instantly switch to show received and transmitted traffic sorted by ascending or descending order, whichever you prefer. You’ll also appreciate the quick-look mouse-over info available on each AP and client device in both of these charts. Interested in watching real-time throughput on APs? Drill down into individual APs to monitor this info over the course of two minutes.
5. Adaptable Hybrid Management Options Another significant benefit of deploying ezMaster along with EnSky hardware is the system’s hybrid approach to network management. The hybrid model gives you the flexibility to deploy and manage the network in the way that best meets your needs. These options include:
1. Manage an unlimited number of access points locally with ezMaster from an onsite server. 2. Manage up to 50 APs per EnSky Switch, in the local network, through the switch’s built-in wireless controller. 3. Manage multiple distributed networks from any location with ezMaster.
Since ezMaster is not a cloud-based software, you have control over where it resides. Set it up on your private server or utilize a third-party cloud service like Amazon Web Services or Microsoft Azure, the choice is yours.
Are you an MSP looking for a network management system to integrate into your existing service system? EnGenius will work with you to provide its ezMaster API for integration. Send an email to [email protected] if you’re interested in this option.
6. Offer Monetize Hotspot Services Interested in adding another income stream? Right from ezMaster, you can provide your customers a way to meet the demands for guest WiFi access in their retail store, restaurant, hotel, shopping center or just about anywhere. You’ll have access to three different guest network options in the platform: guest WiFi, captive portal or monetized hotspot services that engage customers and collect visitor data.
Standard guest WiFi allows guests onto a separate SSID of the network and does not require them to stop at a splash page. The captive portal option is designed to act as an entry point to access the Internet and gives you the ability to create branded splash pages, select three types of authentication, enact terms of service and set the parameters of a walled garden.
Integrated into ezMaster’s Hotspot Service menu is a guest WiFi solution that offers branded welcome pages customer data collection and promotional and coupon creation through the Cloud4Wi service platform. This service presents a tiered approach for clients and supports new revenue streams, especially for MSPs.
Bonus: Say Good-Bye to Fees
If these six reasons aren’t enough to convince you, maybe this will: EnGenius makes this robust software available free with its access points, AND it does so without charging per AP license fees, firmware upgrade fees, subscription fees, tech support fees or any other type of fee.
How can we do this you ask? Simple. EnGenius knows it has to add the most value it can to its solutions, and it does so because not everyone wants to pay a premium for hardware or steep fees just to have reliable enterprise-class wireless, and they shouldn’t have to.
The topic of channel and transmit power is often confusing for Wi-Fi novices and experts alike, as there are several considerations to take into account: different frequency bands, varying channel sizes, and transmission power setting tradeoffs.
In this two-part series, we will cover need-to-know info including the definitions of channel and power, and establish best practices for channel and transmit power planning on both 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz.
Defining Wi-Fi Channels As you probably know, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and similar governmental agencies in other countries regulate the use of radio frequency spectrum. Most spectrum is licensed, meaning that government agencies or commercial entities must purchase or lease a portion of the spectrum to have exclusive use rights to that range. Some frequency bands are unlicensed, meaning that anyone can broadcast in that part of the spectrum without a license, so long as specified maximum transmit power limitations are met. It is in this portion of the wireless spectrum where Wi-Fi operates.
Channel Ranges Each Wi-Fi access point broadcasts a signal on a particular channel, which encompasses a specific center frequency and channel width. Both 802.11n and 802.11ac use larger channel widths, 40 MHz in 802.11n, and 80 MHz or 160 MHz with 802.11ac. Larger channel sizes enable more data to be sent simultaneously, increasing the link’s throughput. However, since the breadth of the unlicensed bands used by Wi-Fi is fixed, there are fewer independent, non-overlapping channels. These bigger channel ranges are also subject to a higher level of noise within the spectrum and more interference from neighbors, making the use of larger channels a tradeoff between potential throughput and achievable signal quality.
Channel Interference Wi-Fi signals interfere if their transmissions occur on the same or overlapping channels in the same space. A wireless client device or receiver hears transmissions from multiple sources simultaneously, yet it is incapable of distinguishing between these different sources. The data received is, therefore, a mashup of signals from various sources. A checksum or error-detection of the received data indicates a corrupted transmission, which requires the original transmission source to retransmit the data.
Band Steering Most enterprise access points also provide a feature called band steering, which encourages dual-band capable client devices to connect to the 5 GHz band to obtain higher speeds. The 5 GHz frequency offers larger channel sizes and fewer sources of external interference than the 2.4 GHz band. While band steering is not part of the 802.11 standard, it is beneficial. This is particularly the case with the emergence of new IoT network appliances that operate on 2.4 GHz and use new, low-power 802.11b chipsets. With more devices crowding the 2.4 GHz band, it is best for all clients that can operate on the 5 GHz band, be directed to do so.
Defining Transmit Power The transmit power of an access point radio is proportional to its effective range. The higher the transmit power, the farther a signal can travel, and the more obstructions it can effectively penetrate. A stronger signal at a given distance generally results in a higher signal to noise ratio, which typically allows for more complex modulation and coding schemes (MCS) and faster data speeds.
Strong v. Weak In early Wi-Fi deployments, which were primarily driven by coverage requirements, it was common use to turn up the power on the AP transmitter as high as allowed by FCC and IEEE regulations. This approach worked when most clients, such as laptops, had reasonably strong transmitters themselves. But, with the emergence of smartphones, tablets, and network appliances, there is often a transmit power mismatch that then leads to a range mismatch.
Most smartphone, tablet, and IoT devices use relatively weak transmitters to preserve both space and battery life. As a result, the client device can receive a fairly strong transmission from the access point, but the access point cannot receive the relatively weak transmissions of the client device.
Think of it this way: the access point is shouting, but the client device is whispering. Accordingly, though non-intuitively, the effective coverage area is driven by the client devices, and the AP power levels must be set to minimize the mismatch between the range of the access point and the corresponding range of the client devices.
Furthermore, in high-density deployments like college lecture halls, conference centers, or stadiums where hundreds or even thousands of devices are operating within the coverage area of a single AP, more access points are needed simply from a capacity standpoint. This necessitates using lower transmit power levels, directional antennas, and very careful channel planning to prevent co-channel interference. Another option in high-density locations is to deploy tri-band-capable access points. Tri-band APs double the wireless capacity of the 5 GHz band and would require fewer devices to accomplish this.
Dual-Band Best Practice As compared to 5 GHz, the 2.4 GHz spectrum has less free space path loss and attenuation through standard building materials, giving it a larger effective range at a given transmit power level. However, when using a dual-band access point, it is effective to equalize the coverage area for both bands.
For a typical SMB environment, the 2.4 GHz transmit power level should be 6 dB lower than the 5 GHz transmit power level to get a rough equivalency in coverage. Even so, balancing coverage can be difficult. It is not uncommon to optimize a dual-band AP layout for 5 GHz coverage and disable the 2.4 GHz radios in some APs to avoid co-channel interference on the 2.4 GHz band.
For more information on the EnSky Tri-Band 11ac Wave 2 AP (EAP2200) Click Here
Editor’s Note: This updated post was originally published in 2015.
Fall is nearly here, and back to school season is in full swing. While students and their families are tasked with buying supplies like pencils, pens, binders and paper, school administrators and tech buyers have to think bigger. Is your campus prepared?
In order for students to thrive, campuses must be efficient and well-connected. EnGenius products are proven to increase scholastic and administrative success on school campuses, but don’t just take our word for it! Take a peek at some of our case studies, which feature on-campus deployments of EnGenius devices:
Are you having trouble with your tech or communications-based equipment? It can be challenging to work out all the kinks when you have so many back to school issues popping up at once, but EnGenius staff and products can help.
“We often have situations where we have to communicate with each other quickly; you might call them emergency situations. Our previous (walkie) system didn’t always work, so we’d have to run around and try to find the person we were looking for,” explained Dan Sage, Assistant Principal at Warner Middle School. Deploying EnGenius DuraWalkies on the Warner campus established reliable communications and efficiency.
Perhaps you’re having difficulty providing contiguous, reliable Wi-Fi connectivity campus-wide. Network Administrator Jerry Thompson faced this challenge at Lima Christian School, and EnGenius provided a solid solution.
“With the competitor’s solution, we basically had pockets of access points. When we moved from one access point to another, we’d lose connection and have to reconnect.” Now, “We’re getting great range,” Thompson said. “I had a student helper take a laptop all around the school to see at what point we would lose the signal. He was almost to his car in the parking lot before the signal dropped.”
Deploying the EnGenius EnSky Series provided robust Wi-Fi coverage at the school, which empowered the school staff to follow through with their technology-based curriculum.
Whether your campus is in need of rugged handsets that function as both phones and two-way radios, or you need networking hardware to support and bolster tech-based learning, EnGenius is the answer.
Want a Gold Star? Take Our EnGenius Quiz!
How well do you know our products? Let’s find out! Don’t worry, this “open-book” quiz is designed to move you to the head of the class!
1. Which of the following features are standard with DuraFon Cordless Phone Systems? A. Reliable, Long-Range coverage B. Durable, ruggedized handsets C. System expandability D. All of the above Answer: D. All of the above
2. True or False: DuraFon offers spectacular long-range coverage, including: – Up to 12 Floors In-Building Penetration – Up to 250,000 sq. ft. of Facility Coverage – Up to 3,000 Acres of Property/Open Land Coverage Answer: True
3. EnGenius’ EnSky networking hardware devices include: A. Access Points B. Wall Plate APs C. AP MeshCam D. PoE Switches E. All of the above Answer: E. All of the above
Access Point Placement Best Practices: Hotels, MDUs & Classrooms
Yes, it’s true that installing wireless access points is often easier than installing them in individual hotel guest rooms, multi-dwelling units (MDUs) including student and military housing, apartments and condominiums, retirement and assisted living residences, and classrooms.
Many hallways feature drop ceilings, making cabling and installation a snap. Even when there are finished ceilings present, cabling soffits or access panels are often already in place or are reasonably easy to install, making wiring possible. If low-voltage infrastructure, such as a spare CAT5e/CAT6a cable is not already available in each unit, cabling the units can be impractical or cost-prohibitive.
However, from a performance standpoint, putting access points in line-of-sight of each other down a hallway is often the worst thing you can do for the following reasons:
1. Attenuation: The inside wall adjacent to the hallway tends to have high attenuation. Why? Most hotel guest room’s and MDU’s outside walls are made up of large windows, while the inside walls tend to be where the metal appliances such as refrigerators, dishwashers, and ovens are located. You’ll often also find full wall mirrors, bathroom plumbing, and steel fire doors in hotel guest rooms.
All of these obstructions interfere with wireless signal penetration. It is not uncommon to see much better signal penetration through the floor and ceiling than from the hallway into the unit.
2. Self-Interference: A long, thin corridor acts as a tunnel for Wi-Fi signals, focusing the signal and making it extend much further than it will laterally into the units. Even with the access points on different channels, there is always some level of adjacent channel interference. When APs installed in halls are all lined up, they’ll cause interference with each other; the heavier the traffic load, the more interference.
It’s for these reasons that it’s almost always better to install APs in individual hotel guest rooms, apartments, dorm rooms, and classrooms.
In-Room Wi-Fi Options Wall Plate APs
Except for new builds, you’ll often find pre-wired, low-voltage network wiring is available in hotel guest rooms, dorms, and other multi-tenant dwellings. Pre-existing wiring creates the perfect scenario for using wall plate APs to provide reliable in-room Wi-Fi to guests and residents. Wall Plate APs bypass the performance concerns of placing APs in hallways, bringing the coverage right where users need it most–in the unit itself.
EnGenius’ new EnSky 11ac Wave 2 Wall Plate AP (EWS550AP) integrates a high-speed AP and a 3-port Gigabit switch, merging wireless, wired, and Power-over-Ethernet features for in-room connectivity. You can use the wall plate AP’s Gigabit Ethernet ports to connect various wired devices including IPTVs and game consoles in hotel guest rooms or dorms and networked projectors in classrooms. The AP includes a wired pass-through port to connect a room phone to the hotel or school PBX system or connect and power a VoIP phone using the PoE-pass-through LAN port. The wall plate AP is also powered through an 802.3af/at-compliant PoE switch. The onboard switch allows you to segment and manage network traffic by type with its port-based 802.1Q VLAN support.
Ceiling/Wall Mount APs
If you don’t have the benefit of existing low-voltage cabling infrastructure, one trick often used is to run the cables down the corridor, penetrate the wall above the doorway into the apartment or guest room, and mount the access point above the door. While it’s ideal to install the access point within the center of the unit, this type of mount is preferred over in-hallway mounting because it gets the AP closer to your user’s client devices. Placing APs just inside the room means signals don’t have to penetrate the wall, plumbing, or other in-room obstacles. It also means those barriers are now working in your favor to protect the wireless signal from other APs.
It’s nearly always best to install APs directly in-room or in-unit if at all possible, even if you need to shortcut the cabling above the door. Wireless signals will be much stronger and more user-friendly.
Every installer knows that each wireless installation comes with its own unique set of challenges – from building materials to cabling. Mesh wireless can be a handy tool for the installer’s arsenal when included as a deployment option on traditional access points. Mesh is useful for getting around tricky installation issues like cement or plaster walls, and on networks where running Ethernet cabling is not possible or even practical. It is also perfect for covering larger spaces like warehouses with Wi-Fi. EnGenius recently added mesh capabilities on select EnSky Series Indoor and Outdoor Access Points. So, we have compiled a few key mesh wireless best practices that will help make your installs easier and more effective. In fact, these best practices are also business builders. Accurate deployment of EnSky Series Access Points – including proper settings and groupings – will save time and money, and will increase customer satisfaction.
Follow these five best practices to ensure you get the best performance out of your EnSky APs when utilizing their mesh capabilities:
1. Best Practice: Use the 5 GHz band for mesh backhaul connectivity. EnSky APs will allow you to use either the 2.4 GHz or 5 GHz bands for mesh connectivity. Since 5 GHz offers larger channel widths and lowers the chance of external interference, it should be used for mesh connectivity.
2. Best Practice: Set the RSSI threshold to -80 dBm (default). EnSky APs allow you to specify the threshold at which a remote AP will not connect, and will, therefore, connect to a different mesh AP with a stronger signal.
Manipulation of this parameter is a difference between distance and speed. Using a higher threshold (e.g. -70 dBm) will enforce faster link speeds across the mesh links, but will require a denser collection of APs to maintain connectivity to all Remote Nodes. If this threshold is too high, there is a significant risk of Remote Nodes becoming isolated because they do not meet the threshold criteria.
3. Best Practice: The network design should cluster the APs into groups consisting of up to four Remote Nodes that are only one hop away from a Root Node. The APs should be mounted roughly evenly throughout the property to provide consistent coverage areas. At least 20% of your APs, distributed throughout the property, should be Root Nodes. Each Remote Node is therefore only one hop away from another Root Node. If a Root Node fails, the nearby Remote Nodes will then only be 2-3 hops away from another Root Node. This approach requires you to create additional Root Nodes, which can be done by running Ethernet or fiber-optic cable to the remote locations, or by establishing dedicated point-to-(multi)point WDS Bridge links to create “wireless wires” from the root AP back to the wired network.
In mesh environments with multiple Root Nodes, you can establish mesh clusters by creating a unique AP Group. Each AP Group will contain one Root Node and the desired Remote Nodes that should be connecting to it. The settings of each AP Group should be identical, except for their channel. Each AP Group needs to be on an independent channel to ensure its neighboring mesh clusters do not self-interfere.
4. Best Practice: Set each Root Node on a static independent channel, and set each Remote Node to “auto channel.”* Using these settings will maximize the airtime capacity of the overall network so that multiple neighboring Root Nodes do not create self-interference. Set the Remote Nodes to auto-channel so they can fail over to different Root Nodes in the event of the failure of their primary Root Node. When utilizing point-to-(multi)point WDS Bridge links to establish Root Nodes these must also be on static independent channels, and therefore accounted for in the overall channelization plan.
5. Best Practice: Mesh APs should be configured to operate in Mesh Point mode.** The access points can be set up to operate in either “Mesh AP” mode or “Mesh Point” mode. In Mesh AP mode, the 5 GHz radio provides both wireless backhaul through the mesh and wireless client device access. In this mode, the AP acts as a repeater, meaning the link will lose 50% throughput per hop.
Conversely, in Mesh Point mode, the 5 GHz radio only provides wireless backhaul, and all client device access is only on the 2.4 GHz radio. The loss of bandwidth capacity from connecting on 5 GHz wireless is minor compared to the loss of bandwidth capacity experienced with a 50% reduction in bandwidth per hop. Mesh Point mode also allows you to set the transmit power of the mesh radios to their maximum value, providing the greatest signal strength between nodes without experiencing an imbalance with the low transmit power capability of most 5 GHz client devices.Well-planned deployments, coupled with excellent equipment, are the ultimate best practice – and EnGenius is here to help you in both regards. We hope you make these five best practices part of your future installs. Stay tuned for future tips and best practices!Are you looking for a flexible, scalable, affordable network solution with no management license or subscription fees? Look no further. Learn more about EnGenius’ EnSky Series.
* In the c1.8.57 firmware release, auto-channel is not supported for APs in mesh mode. Accordingly, each AP Group must have all APs in the mesh cluster set to the static channel. Different AP Groups should be set on independent channels to maximize airtime. Auto-channel capability will be added in a future firmware release.
** In the c1.8.57 firmware release, only the Mesh AP option is available in the controller. To set the APs into Mesh Point mode, the setting must be changed from the web interface of each AP directly. This will be addressed in a future firmware release.
Wi-Fi might not be the first thing that comes to mind when considering critical capital expenditures for residential care and assisted living facilities, but it is becoming an integral part of operations as technology evolves.
1. Resident Use
As large segments of our population continue to age, the demand for Wi-Fi in assisted living and continuing care retirement centers grows. Tech-savvy seniors expect to use wireless Internet access.According to a 2017 Pew Research study, 67% of seniors age 65 and older indicated they go online. A Link-age 2016 study showed just over 40% of seniors own a smartphone and state their top communication technology uses include Internet access, wireless networks, and personal computers more than other technology. Assisted living facilities will need to keep their Wi-Fi access competitive to attract future residents.
2. Staff Use
Facility-owned computing devices, such as tablets and laptops used by management and facility operations staff, also require Wi-Fi access. The staff network must be HIPAA-compliant, incorporating security measures to keep patient records secure, especially when accessed in the course of day-to-day routines.
While both resident and staff use are necessary, the real power of Wi-Fi in assisted living facilities lies in infrastructure. The Internet of Things (IoT) is evolving to produce an ever-growing array of wireless sensor technology that is used to monitor residents, improve operational efficiencies, and maintain health and safety. The capital investment in Wi-Fi for a facility can be considered primarily one of infrastructure, since every day, Wi-Fi becomes an increasingly critical component of daily operations.
Supporting A Sea of IoT Devices
An IoT network of wireless-enabled sensing devices collect data, report on abnormalities, and even make appropriate adjustments. Devices like the fitness and GPS trackers, smart thermostats, and watches may still be considered in the realm of high-tech toys, but the real application isn’t just life enhancing, but life sustaining. Consider the following representative applications for continuous, real-time measurements: Wearable Sensors:
Health monitors: Track vital signs, blood pressure, pulse rate, and temperature.
Orientation: Wrist-worn devices transmit position including sitting, standing or lying down.
Location: Where are your residents within your facility? An absolute essential for Alzheimer’s or dementia residents.
Room Sensors & Actuators:
Pressure sensors: Monitor beds, chairs, and floors to track patient activity.
Environmental sensors: Measure and adjust room temperature and humidity.
Motion detectors: Monitor visitors, and help determine if the patient is following normal activity patterns.
Lighting & electrical sensors: Automatically turn on and off to ensure safe movement, appropriate lighting day or night.
Safety: Heat, smoke, and carbon monoxide detection.
Voice activated devices: AI personal assistant devices like Amazon Echo and Google Home provide a quick way for seniors to summon help.
Facility Sensors & Actuators:
Location sensors: GPS tracking for drug carts, medical devices, and other facility assets.
Security monitors: Motion sensors, access control, and video surveillance.
Safety sensors: Heat, smoke, and carbon monoxide detection.
Lighting & Electrical: Automatic lights conserves energy, high-energy devices connected to sensors can be remotely shut down to save.
Proper Wi-Fi Design is Essential
To take full advantage of these critical applications, a properly designed and functioning Wi-Fi system is essential. If your wireless doesn’t work correctly, your critical applications won’t work efficiently either.First and foremost, every Wi-Fi deployment must be tailored to the facilities’ specific layout, building materials, and constraints. This will ensure proper coverage on both the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands by selecting the correct locations, channel, and transmit power settings for access points. In a facility serving hundreds of residents, such a system needs to be engineered and optimized for the space. This requires qualified and knowledgeable Wi-Fi engineers and installers.The access points should be centrally managed by either an on-site controller or a cloud-based application to ensure the proper monitoring of functionality and usage statistics, and that changes are rolled out consistently and universally. The EnGenius EnSky platform is ideally suited for assisted living Wi-Fi applications for several reasons, including ease of centralized management, durable leading-edge access points, and reasonable costs.
Compared to the 5 GHz band, the 2.4 GHz band has comparatively low throughput and is subject to more external sources of interference, though data also travels further and attenuates less rapidly on 2.4 GHz. This is also the band preferred by IoT and medical monitoring devices and sensors, and will likely remain so for many years to come. The 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi technology is older and costs less for embedded device manufacturers to incorporate. While the data requirements per device are minimal, most medical monitoring devices only need to report small amounts of data. Naturally, we wouldn’t want medical monitoring devices to compete for wireless resources with high data applications such as video conferencing on Skype or accessing patient medical records on an employee’s tablet. Fortunately, most devices are already capable of operating on either the 2.4 GHz or 5 GHz bands, and enterprise APs include Band Steering to encourage connections on 5 GHz. This band utilizes wider channels and is subject to less external interference than the 2.4 GHz band.
Separate VLANs for Each Application
Concerning access, a typical assisted living facility is likely to have at least three SSIDs/VLANs per band:
This is the network for facility residents, their guests, and any personal devices brought in by staff. The SSID should be unencrypted to allow for easy access to the network. However, client devices should be completely isolated from one another, so they can only get Internet access and not access to each other. It is also important to use a well-designed captive portal for guests and enforce bandwidth limitations per device to prevent abuse.
This VLAN is the network for facility-owned computing devices, such as tablets and laptops for both resident management and facility operations. The network incorporates WPA2 Enterprise security with a central RADIUS or Active Directory server to meet HIPPA-compliance and to manage the users and devices that can log onto this network.
This network supports the array of IoT sensors and actuators used to monitor residents and measure/control the environment. Since much of the data will be patient-specific and medical in nature, HIPAA-compliance also applies, requiring the use of WPA2 Personal security to prevent unauthorized access. Client device isolation is also necessary, with appropriate exceptions for the on-site servers or monitoring computers that need on-site real-time access to the data. There may also be additional VLANs/SSIDs required for other applications, such as for video surveillance, access control, and Voice over IP. Wi-Fi is the operations infrastructure of the 21st century assisted living facility, and EnGenius’ EnSky Series can get you there.
Watch this short video to see how Golden Hill Nursing and Rehabilitation Center deployed the EnSky Series to support their telemedicine and other network-connected applications.
The AP MeshCam, EnGenius’ new hybrid access point/surveillance camera, may be a clever combination of technology, but where would you use it? You may be asking. Sure, everyone needs Wi-Fi these days, and most businesses and institutions can benefit from the security provided by surveillance cameras. But why do we need a hybrid? Why not install access points as usual, and then a separate freestanding surveillance system?Well, ask Aristotle; because the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.The AP MeshCam combines two great things to make a greater whole. One simple installation for both a wireless access point, and IP camera and one single cable run for power and data. Smart-sensing mesh simplifies setup while enabling both seamless Wi-Fi and complete camera coverage with no additional cabling or configuration. Other benefits include:
Configuration Flexibility & Modes: Mesh Access Point, Access Point, Client Bridge, WDS AP, WDS Bridge & WDS Station
Operate Alone, Manage via an EnGenius Switch, or Remotely Manage via ezMaster™ Network Management Software
Monitor Video via the EnVMS™ App or Included 16-Channel VMS Software
Fast 11ac Speeds to 867 Mbps Support Smooth, Buffer-Free Connections
120-Degree HD Lens & Night Visibility to 65 Feet
Mesh Technology Allows Connectivity in Hard-to-Reach Locations
Works With a Comprehensive Line of EnGenius Access Points
This unique combination of technology makes the AP MeshCam perfect for a broad range of applications, here are just a few.
Restaurants and Bars:
In a pub or restaurant, the bar area is often crowded and chaotic. Keeping track of surroundings can be challenging for an owner or manager. But with an AP MeshCam mounted over the bar, management can monitor cash register and tip jar access, bartenders that may be overpouring or distributing free drinks, disruptive patrons, and so on. The AP MeshCam adds an extra layer of security and accountability to the POS system that may already be in place.
Meanwhile, the AP MeshCam provides high-speed Wi-Fi for guests who are using their phones to peruse online menus, posting their location and photos to social media, or dropping location pins for friends, all of which drums up more business for the restaurant. The mesh feature creates a reliable Wi-Fi network with minimal cable runs and installation cost, allowing access point placement in difficult-to-reach locations.
Today’s schools are tech-savvy; they need seamless Wi-Fi connectivity for various e-learning initiatives, as well as online textbooks, newsletters, and calendars. Schools also need spot-on security to keep their students safe. Why not put security cameras to work providing Wi-Fi access?
With the AP MeshCam, staff can keep an eye on students using its 120-degree field of view from strategically placed units in hallways, auditoriums, gymnasiums, and other common areas, while simultaneously providing Wi-Fi for staff and students. Meshing allows seamless wireless connectivity between multiple APs in hallways—even around blind corners—keeping students engaged and safe.
Hotel guests want Wi-Fi in their rooms, but they also expect connectivity as they move through hallways, lobbies, and other common areas. They use Wi-Fi to check in to their flights, make dinner reservations, or schedule a pickup via a rideshare app. Or they may just want to browse their favorite sites or watch a video while sitting at the pool. Meanwhile, hotel security staff and managers need eyes on the entire property.
With the AP MeshCam providing guest Wi-Fi and video surveillance in one device, both guests and staff get what they need. Management can keep an eye on main areas, while guests access strong, reliable Wi-Fi.
Even in small retail stores, surveillance is a crucial tool to preventing theft. But small stores must work within limited budgets, ensuring that each expenditure will provide worthwhile returns. The AP MeshCam is a perfect two-in-one investment for such stores.
Owners and managers can employ the surveillance camera to watch the cash register and front door, noticing shoplifters and any other issues that may arise. Meanwhile, the access point provides Wi-Fi for operations and customers. Install two or more AP MeshCams, and the mesh feature comes into play, smoothly extending coverage and surveillance. Whatever your industry, you will appreciate the convenience of combining constant surveillance and robust Wi-Fi in one compact, easy-to-install device. Combining two devices in one simple design magnifies their capabilities and simplifies installation, saving you time and money. Why should you make the switch to 2-in-1 Wi-Fi/surveillance? Switch because the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Simplify your network with the AP MeshCam today.
Just as your operations and your visitors are put on two (or more) VLANs to separate the network traffic, it is a best practice to use a separate management VLAN for the web and CLI* for your network equipment—router, switch(es), and access point(s). This way, users cannot access (and therefore hack) your hardware.By default, all networking devices come with the management VLAN set to one (1), and all managed and smart switches are configured such that every port is PVID one (1)/untagged VLAN one (1). If your staff and visitors are on separate VLANs, then the original LAN is isolated from both and can act as yet another VLAN; this one is usually designated “VLAN one (1).”
Can I Get Myself Into Trouble Using VLANs?
Here are some issues that may arise, and how to troubleshoot:
Device is on the wrong VLAN: This happens when traffic is sent to the wrong VLAN as it enters the network. Fortunately, this is fairly easy to catch, especially if your client device is configured for DHCP. One look at the IP address on the client device will indicate whether it has a DHCP address on the correct subnet. For static clients, an arping or nmap on the wrong VLAN will reveal the presence of the client. To get your device back on the correct VLAN, make sure your SSID settings and PVID/untagged VLAN switch settings are correct.
Data traffic doesn’t flow: This results when traffic is sent to the wrong VLAN as it enters the network, or when switch ports are not properly and explicitly configured to pass traffic on that VLAN. Remember that all ports on a switch** should be trunk ports, configured for all tagged VLANs used in the network, including management VLANs. To prevent this issue, remember to configure ports connected to client devices or network appliances for the correct PVID/untagged VLAN for the client.
Device loses access to network configuration: This is usually the result of a mismatch between the PC used to configure the network devices and the management VLAN set up on the device. Management VLANs should generally be configured last (after devices), because once you set a network device to use a VLAN, you will lose access to the device until its PC port connects to the same VLAN.*** To ensure connection, make sure the PC port used by the device is configured to the management VLAN used by the device.
I advise designating one port on each network switch a management port, configured as PVID/untagged VLAN on the management VLAN.VLANs are a powerful tool, and should be an integral part of all of your Wi-Fi network designs.
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in June 2015 and has been updated.
*Command Line Interface **Defined here as ports connected to either the router, backhaul to other switches, or access points. ***Example: If you have a switch configured to management VLAN 4000, but none of the switch ports are configured for tagged or untagged access on VLAN 4000, you are cut off from the switch and have no way to access the configuration, short of a serial interface or a hard reset.
VLANs, or Virtual Local Area Networks, are one of the most powerful, most misunderstood and underutilized tools for Wi-Fi networks in private homes and small-to-medium businesses. This post is part two of three articles on VLANS and provides a practical guide as to why and how you should use them.
How do VLANs work?
Client devices don’t know, and generally shouldn’t know, anything about the VLAN configuration of a network. All VLAN configuration is done on the network router, switch(es), and access point(s). When a client device sends data, each packet is “tagged” as it enters the network so it can be routed to the correct destination, in much the same way your luggage is tagged when you check it at the airport. When the data reaches its intended destination, the tag is removed, which is commonly referred to as either “untagging” or “stripping the tag”. In networking, the VLAN tag is a 4 byte element inserted into the Media Access Control (MAC) header of the packet. This element contains a 12 bit number indicating the VLAN ID (or VID), meaning that, in theory, a network can have 2^12 or 4096 tags. The all-zero and all-one tag (i.e. VLAN 0 and VLAN 4095) are not used, per the 802.1q specification. Furthermore, VLAN 1 is reserved for “untagged traffic,” meaning that any data traffic in a network that does not have a VLAN tag is considered to be on VLAN 1. This is why all switch and access point VLANs are defaulted to VLAN 1.By default, each port on a switch will drop VLAN traffic, so any VLAN traffic that is allowed through a switch port must be explicitly defined in the switch configuration. Trunk ports are used to interconnect switches (and access points), where each VLAN in use on the network is explicitly defined as a tagged VLAN, meaning that the switch will pass traffic on that VLAN without touching the VLAN tag.The tagging/untagging mechanisms in switches and access points differ depending on whether the client is wired or wireless, but functionally they are identical:
A wireless client associates to a particular SSID. In the AP configuration, the SSID is associated with a particular VLAN. All traffic coming from a wireless client is tagged with the VLAN ID associated with the SSID. The AP strips the tag associated with the SSID for all data traffic transmitted to a wireless client.
So, from the perspective of the switch, all traffic coming from or going to an access point is tagged.
#1 The PVID or Port LAN ID, indicates the VLAN ID that should be tagged onto all traffic coming into the port (i.e. from the wired client). Since each port has allowed VLANs explicitly defined on it, an untagged VLAN can be defined, such that any traffic on that particular VLAN gets its tag stripped before the traffic leaves the port. By definition, a wired port connected to a client can have only one PVID and should have only one untagged VLAN. These two should match in order for the connected wired client to communicate in both directions on that VLAN.
#2 The router configuration similarly becomes a bit more complex. Each VLAN on the network is considered to be a sub-interface of the LAN interface (since multiple VLANs exist on the same physical wire/NIC). So, instead of defining an IP address, subnet, and DHCP range for a single LAN, each VLAN is treated as a separate LAN, and requires an independent subnet, IP address, and DHCP range.*
Typically, VLANs are used to keep the various LAN subnets isolated, so the router is generally routing WAN to VLAN. Cross-VLAN routing can be done in specific instances, and usually requires the setup of explicit rules with particular exceptions.One common example would be a hotel with a printer in the lobby. If staff and guests are both meant to use the printer, it could be placed on the visitor VLAN with router rules defined to route traffic from the operations VLAN to the printer on the visitor VLAN. In such a case, however, it is often simpler and cheaper to just buy two printers.Next time we’ll talk about, “What is Management VLAN and whether or not you should use it.”
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in June 2015 and has been updated.
* By convention, some people like matching the second or third octet of the subnet to the VLAN ID. For example, VLAN 8 could be given the subnet 10.8.0.0/16 or 192.168.8.0/24, VLAN 16 could be given the subnet 10.16.0.0/16 or 192.168.16.0/24, etc. These settings are independent, so no correlation between the VLAN ID and the subnet is required, but it is often convenient.