Smart Tip: Naming Wi-Fi SSIDs

Access Points can be configured with matching 2.4ghz and 5ghz SSIDs, or with a different SSID for each frequency. There are advantages and disadvantages to each approach.

Naming 2.4ghz and 5ghz SSIDs the same makes client configuration simple. Once clients are configured to connect, they will access any/all SSIDs of the same name.

Naming 2.4ghz and 5ghz SSIDs differently allows you to control which clients should connect to a given SSID. For instance, you might configure media streamers to use the 5ghz SSID for the best bandwidth capability, while you could relegate mobile devices to the 2.4ghz SSID for best roaming and signal robustness. The drawback is that clients must be configured differently.

Smart Tip: Wi-Fi Security

WPA2 with AES encryption is the recommended security configuration. WPA2 and AES allows the most common devices to connect at the fastest speeds, so is recommended for most residential environments.

WPA allows older WPA devices to connect, but limits the wireless network to slower 802.11g speeds, therefore WPA should only be used to support 802.11g only devices. If you need to support an older WPA device such as a printer, create a separate SSID configured with WPA solely for that device.

WPA/WPA2 Mixed supports devices with both protocols, however if any WPA-based client connects to the wireless network, all clients will operate at slower 802.11g speeds. Due to speed limitations, WPA/WPA2 Mixed mode is mostly commonly used in high-turnover environments such as hotels or restaurants.

Smart Tip: Virtual LAN (or VLAN)

VLANs work by segmenting devices into “virtual” networks so devices on one VLAN can’t “see” devices on a different VLAN. The two most common uses for VLANs are enhancing network security and managing network performance.

VLANs can isolate devices or users on a network to enhance security. For example, a VLAN could be used to create a separate isolated guest network that enables users to access the internet, but prevents them from accessing any other local network resources such as file servers. A VLAN could also be used to isolate security cameras or a control system from the rest of the network.

VLANs can also be used to manage network performance. Some devices constantly send broadcast messages, and in a typical network, those broadcast messages are distributed to every device on the network. This can become problematic as a network grows in scale. VLANs can help alleviate this problem by limiting broadcast messages to a specific VLAN, thereby reducing overall network traffic and latency.

To create VLANs on a network, you’ll generally need a VLAN-capable AP, switch, and router.