Wireless Access Points: Thin vs Fat

Wireless LAN Switches: The Best Solution

There are two types of wireless access points Intelligent (Fat) and Thin wireless Access points. A fat wireless access point has everything it needs to handle wireless clients. A Thin wireless access point is basically a radio and antenna that is controlled by a wireless switch. If you deploy several Fat wireless access points they need to be configured individually. With thin wireless access points the entire configuration takes place at the switch saving you time and money.

Wireless LAN Switches provide many benefits:

Wireless Mobility – Intelligent access aren’t managed in a central location which means there is no third party monitoring the movement of a user. If a user moves to another work area traditional wireless access points have a hard time passing off the user to the new access point. Thin wireless access points are controlled be the wireless LAN switch who will manage the users movement.

Security- Using the wireless LAN switch the administrator can check logs, configure is security settings, make group polices for wireless users all in one spot. Also built in to many wireless LAN switches are RADIUS servers which will give another layer of security on top of your encryption policies. In enterprise wireless networks the administrators biggest fear is rogue wireless access points. Wireless LAN switches can detect when a new wireless access point comes into the area and decide if it is a trusted or non-trusted device.

Placement – Power over Ethernet is another great feature of wireless LAN Switches. Power over Ethernet eliminates the need for an power outlet to be near the wireless access point. This saves your company money by not having to install new power outlets. Also this improves security by not having the wireless access points within easy reach of passerby’s.

If you are deploying a wireless LAN for a company I would be scared if you don’t utilize wireless LAN switches and wireless thin access points. The upfront costs of these products are more but your total cost of ownership will be less than having to administer each wireless access point separately. To sum it up home owners should stick with Fat access points and businesses should use thin.