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Thread: Completely Wireless System Recommendation Needed

  1. #1
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    Completely Wireless System Recommendation Needed

    Does anyone in the Network go entirely wireless in their dispensary?


    I am looking to renovate my practice. Every floor plan I've seen has the optician workstations spread throughout the center floor. Currently, my workstations are placed against the walls next to power and CAT 5 outlets. Rather than channeling into the slab, I would like to go completely wireless where the opticians use notebooks or tablets that run off of batteries. I envision them locking into docking stations and hibernating when not in use to preserve battery life.


    So, if you are currently running such a setup, or have tried in the past and abandoned it, I would be interested in hearing your comments and any links you could post for guidance.


    Thanks in advance to all those that respond.

  2. #2
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    I usually do not recommend, for various reasons, that you go wireless in a business situation if you do not have to. You are going to have slower connection speeds and need to make sure your network is secured.

    If you do decide to go wireless then you want to first make sure that you make your network as secure as possible. Also any database driven software (like practice management) should use a client/server database so that you don't need as much bandwidth and get better performance.

  3. #3
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    We have both wireless and Cat 6 cable. We can discern no difference in speed from our 108MBPS wireless modem vs cable. However the wireless runs quite a bit slower than 108MBPS. We have 128 encryption. I feel secure and fast.

    Quote Originally Posted by LiquidVision_Dev View Post
    I usually do not recommend, for various reasons, that you go wireless in a business situation if you do not have to. You are going to have slower connection speeds and need to make sure your network is secured.

    If you do decide to go wireless then you want to first make sure that you make your network as secure as possible. Also any database driven software (like practice management) should use a client/server database so that you don't need as much bandwidth and get better performance.

  4. #4
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    If you use your software heavily, if you have more than 2 or 3 workstations, if you don't have a full time IT guy on the premesis, DON'T DO IT.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MarcE View Post
    We have both wireless and Cat 6 cable. We can discern no difference in speed from our 108MBPS wireless modem vs cable. However the wireless runs quite a bit slower than 108MBPS. We have 128 encryption. I feel secure and fast.
    For additional security I recommend you turn off DHCP, SSID transmitting and also use MAC address filtering wth fixed IP addresses. Turning off DHCP will ensure that a connected device knows the required parameters of the network to connect. Turning off SSID transmitting will prevent casual users from even knowing you have a wireless network. The MAC address filtering will only allow specific devices that you specify to connect.

    128 bit encryption is good. I would recommend WPA rather then WEP. WEP is used more commonly but WPA is harder to crack.

    The negative of all this is that when you want to add a new computer to the network you have a few more steps but you will be more secure then without it. Ultimately no wireless network is totally secure from a skilled person intent on breaking in.

    Let me know if I can explain any of this further.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by LiquidVision_Dev View Post
    For additional security I recommend you turn off DHCP, SSID transmitting and also use MAC address filtering wth fixed IP addresses. Turning off DHCP will ensure that a connected device knows the required parameters of the network to connect. Turning off SSID transmitting will prevent casual users from even knowing you have a wireless network. The MAC address filtering will only allow specific devices that you specify to connect.

    128 bit encryption is good. I would recommend WPA rather then WEP. WEP is used more commonly but WPA is harder to crack.

    The negative of all this is that when you want to add a new computer to the network you have a few more steps but you will be more secure then without it. Ultimately no wireless network is totally secure from a skilled person intent on breaking in.

    Let me know if I can explain any of this further.
    THanks for the advice. We will review the setup.
    I seems to me that with the 128 bit encryption, and WPA, and MAC address filtering, and turning off DHCP and SSID; wouldn't it just be easier to break into the bldg and plug into the network?

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    Bad address email on file Liquid_Software's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MarcE View Post
    THanks for the advice. We will review the setup.
    I seems to me that with the 128 bit encryption, and WPA, and MAC address filtering, and turning off DHCP and SSID; wouldn't it just be easier to break into the bldg and plug into the network?
    It would seem pretty secure but the data is still traveling via wireless so it can still be intercepted. There are several tools available that will allow people with a little computer knowledge to see a wireless network even with SSID turned off, grab the wireless data as it travels then decrypt it and although they may not be on your physical network they could pull enough data to find your WEP or WPA key along with the MAC address and Network settings which they could then use to join your network.

    Although this would probably be highly unlikely it is a possibility and the tools to do this are open source so they are available to anyone and require very little skill to use. Here is just a quick list of some of the more common tools that can be used:

    http://www.oxid.it/cain.html

    http://www.kismetwireless.net/

    http://airsnort.shmoo.com/

    http://stumbler.net/

    One thing you can do is download the tools and use them to test your current network to help improve your wireless network security. Or another suggestion would be to consult with a security expert.

    Hope this helps,

  8. #8
    Master OptiBoarder rbaker's Avatar
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    If you have a compelling reason to make any changes to the physical layer of your computer system go for it. Just be aware that it will cost twice what you plan to spend, take twice as long for the implementation and you will have twice as many problems as you thought.

    Whats the compelling reason for the change?

  9. #9
    Bad address email on file OptiBoard Gold Supporter Sean's Avatar
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    You could also try using WPA2 over WPA if your hardware supports it. It uses AES encryption over TKIP and uses next to nothing for overhead in packet data.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MarcE View Post
    THanks for the advice. We will review the setup.
    I seems to me that with the 128 bit encryption, and WPA, and MAC address filtering, and turning off DHCP and SSID; wouldn't it just be easier to break into the bldg and plug into the network?
    LOL, indeed it probably would. :D

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Liquid_Software View Post
    It would seem pretty secure but the data is still traveling via wireless so it can still be intercepted. There are several tools available that will allow people with a little computer knowledge to see a wireless network even with SSID turned off, grab the wireless data as it travels then decrypt it and although they may not be on your physical network they could pull enough data to find your WEP or WPA key along with the MAC address and Network settings which they could then use to join your network.

    Although this would probably be highly unlikely it is a possibility and the tools to do this are open source so they are available to anyone and require very little skill to use. Here is just a quick list of some of the more common tools that can be used:

    http://www.oxid.it/cain.html

    http://www.kismetwireless.net/

    http://airsnort.shmoo.com/

    http://stumbler.net/

    One thing you can do is download the tools and use them to test your current network to help improve your wireless network security. Or another suggestion would be to consult with a security expert.

    Hope this helps,
    Zach is right of course. As a professional making a recommendation to a user, I like to err on the side of caution but realistically you should be OK with wireless if you take as many prudent precautions as you can.

    What amazes me is the number of businesses out there with totally unsecured wireless networks. Some people just pick up a router from best buy and plug it in and go.

    One other negative about wireless I should mention is the more computers you add you are going to see an increasing decline in performance. You can overcome this by adding more wireless access points and then balancing out which computers connect to which access point.

  12. #12
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    I'm enjoying the advice above.

    Like I said earlier...if you depend on your computer system heavily, and if you have more than 2 or 3 workstations, and if you don't have an IT guy on staff...don't do it.

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