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Information Technology - Wireless Local-Area Networks

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Information Technology - Wireless local-area networks

In today's world where organizations need to keep in contact with employees there seem to be more ways than ever to stay connected. This can be a burden for small organizations that do not have a large information technology (IT) staff to keep them updated with the latest technologies (Cisco, 2004). A significant way for employees to stay in touch besides cell phones, laptops and hand held computers is wireless local area networks (WLAN). Also known as LAWN, a wireless local-area network uses high frequency radio waves rather than wires to communicate between computers or other devices (Webopedia, 2004). Business owners are now recognizing the benefits of incorporating wireless network into their organizations. A wireless local area network can be very beneficial because of its mobility and increased employee productivity, but organizations still harbor doubts about its security and reliability.

Wireless local area networks (WLAN) provide a variety of benefits to an organization. It can provide mobility and flexibility, which can all lead to improvements in productivity and business opportunities (Wireless LAN, 2004). Wireless local area networks (WLANs) keep mobile workers connected without information technology (IT) professionals having to install wiring through out a building. Temporary workspaces can be set up and internet access can be made available in different meeting locations without the need to rewire. Wireless Internet service providers (WISPs) are also offering access at various locations that would make it convenient to travelers and mobile workers (Public Access, 2004). They are able to connect their laptops or other devices without wires or having to find a data port in airports or hotels. Unlike the past when employees worked from the same location, organizations today enjoy more freedom and flexibility in their workforces because of wireless local area networks (Cisco, 2004). Both organizations and employees enjoy a combination of improved speed, collaboration and accuracy when they invest in a wireless local-area network (Intel, 2004).

Wireless local-area networks (WLAN) have given workers the advantage of completing their work away from their office and as a result improve their overall productivity. NOP World through an independent survey discovered that wireless local-area network (WLAN) users stay connected long enough to show an increase in productivity (NOP World, 2003). Different organizations using wireless networks enable their employees to gain access to valuable information pertaining to the business whenever necessary. Not only would vital data be available that could aid an employee in closing a deal, but time could also be saved when correspondences can be answered quickly and at any place via e-mail. Organizations are investing in wireless local-area networks because they feel their requirements for increased productivity are being met and wireless networks will expand in the future (Intel, 2004).

Organizations find the benefits of a wireless local area network very advantageous, but organizations are still concerned with the security risks involved with allowing important data relating to their businesses floating around on radio waves (Microsoft, 2004). Information being retrieved by anyone using an unsecured port is possible because the radio waves used by wireless networks travel through walls, floors and ceilings. Wireless network security has been closely examined by network engineers and other experts and the pace of security technology advances have increased. Features in security can now scramble network traffic so snoopers cannot easily decipher its contents. The level of security on any wireless local-area network (WLAN) depends on the value of the information and the cost of implementing the security measures (U.S. Robotics, 2003). The concern that organizations have with the security risks associated with the network is viable, but with the proper security measures the risk can be minimized.

Organizations question the reliability of the wireless local-area networks (WLAN). They wonder if the wireless network will provide business-class capabilities, quality service, and seamless roaming similar to that of a traditional network (Bhatnagar, 2004). Reliability is very important in an organization in order for it to stay connected and be productive. Wireless network users want the assurance that they will be able to stay connected to the network while



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