O Practical Wireless Deployment Methodology PWDM

You can find many "7 Things To Know About Wireless" or "8 Steps to a Secure WiFi Network" type documents online. However, the majority of such guides only consider the technical details (which are often the easiest to solve) surrounding the deployment of a wireless local area network (WLAN). They also do not consider the operational phase that follows after the implementation phase, which most experienced people would readily agree is the more taxing of the two.

Thus, what you need is a methodology that can help guide you through a wireless network deployment from the design stage through to the implementation stage and also build in operational considerations for both stages. The PWDM is one such open-source methodology for doing this.

The Practical Wireless Deployment Methodology, or PWDM for short, can be downloaded from http://pwdm.net and is designed to help any size organization deploying a WLAN to consistently and effectively follow a series of steps that will cover all the areas that the organization would typically encounter in the rollout of a WLAN. It does not matter how big or small the organization is, or if the WLAN is for private or public use.

The PWDM does not delve into the technical details, e.g., how to enable VPN functionality for a Nomadix SSG. What it does do is provide a framework for anyone deploying a WLAN to consider whether they have done due diligence in a number of areas by acting as a high-level general guide that covers the various phases in a WLAN deployment within which various tasks should be undertaken to address various issues you would typically encounter in such a deployment.

As the PWDM is a high-level framework or skeleton that people can use to guide their wireless deployments and/or upgrades, it is not intended to give specific technicallevel instruction on how to accomplish each step in the methodology, as people might have their own ways of doing things on an implementation level. Also, those areas that are not applicable for a given organization don't have to be followed. However, the sequence of the PWDM has to be followed to ensure a consistent and methodical rollout. The key here is realizing that, although some steps may have varying degrees of importance for different categories of WLANs, the process of going through the PWDM's methodological steps is something that seldom changes across different types of WLAN deployments.

The PWDM consists of the following steps:

1. Deployment analysis

2. Contractual negotiation

3. Deployment tactical planning

4. Deployment procedural rollout

5. Supporting infrastructure rollout

6. AP security issues

7. Layer 3 mitigation strategies

8. Gateway management

9. Management overlay issues 10. UAT and commissioning

As you can see, the process of deploying a WLAN occurs long before equipment is actually purchased or a vendor appointed to deliver the solution. A vendor being appointed does not absolve the WLAN owner of the responsibility of knowing the details of his or her infrastructure. If any security issue arises later on, the owner would bear the responsibility for not conducting due diligence. Each stage carries with it an appreciation of the issues to be addressed and helps ensure that attention is directed to both nontechnical and technical problems that will impact both the deployment and, more importantly, the operation and maintenance of the WLAN.

As the PWDM document contains all the required detail and is freely downloadable, we don't need to have a lengthy discourse on it here. Suffice to say that anyone involved in designing, implementing, or maintaining a WLAN should at least take a look at the PWDM to see how it can help order the deployment process.

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