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CEO wants pure wireless environment, I disagree

By trtjj ·

I am building a new infrastructure in a new building. Construction cost on our new floor has skyrocketed. Our CEO wants to move from a hybrid cabled/wireless solution to just a plain wireless solution to save on cable pulls.

I did not think it would be a wise move. Besides running multiple databases, we will be running
1. 100 users plus 10 consultants.
2. IP telephony (wirelessly it would be SIP phones)
3. Web/ Video conferencing (IP based)
4. We also have a conference center which will be using teleconferencing, video conferencing etc.
5. Documenet management systems.
6. File sharing (PPT, Media files of our conferences).
7. sharepoint portal
8. Meeting management software.
9. Guest VLANs and Guest wireless access.
10. Exchange
11. Remote Access (SSLVPN) for mobile users and RDC to users machines.
12 IPSec VPN to Remote office

How can I convince the CEO that it is not a good idea to just run wireless. I know QoS isn't that great with wireless APs and the issues with channels, saturation and interference. Are there any articles or white papers on this?

I proposed an all cisco environment with 6513, POE, Cat 6 cabling. F5 load balancing over three wan connections, NAC, Cisco wireless AP and WLC, and Cisco phone system.

Our CEO is comparing us to Starbucks and home networks.

Thanks for any help

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What he wants and what he thinks that means

by raelayne In reply to CEO wants pure wireless e ...

Your CEO wants lower price. He has suggested the "all wireless" solution because he thinks that will lower the price. It's always, of course, a mistake to let things get to the point where the CEO is making suggestions, because he's not really knowledgeable enough to do that. What you need to do is recover your authority and position by solving his problem -- money -- in another way, one that will work.

Of course, if your CEO wants an all-wireless office so he can move again in a few months, or because he needs it to portray a really high-tech image, or something else, you'll need to address those needs, too.

Bottom line: When someone proposes a solution you don't like, look behind it to the need, and find a better solution.

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Try to get CEO's vision

by drdoravi In reply to What he wants and what he ...

As Raelayne said, it is always good to ask your boss and get the big picture, instead of just trying to impress him with your statistics.

1. Now, since your boss is a CEO, you cannot assume that he gave you some fancy assignment.
Certainly, he must be looking out for a better tomorrow, from your organization's point of view.
May be, he wants to expand the organization much more than what it is right now.

2. Technical aspects of your assignment, as you have thoroughly worked out, must be put in a very presentable format, with all the other possible alternatives and cost details.

3. Put forth your ideas to your boss, not to force your ideas on him, but to give him adequate information, for he may ask you a couple of questions, and wish to make a workable plan altogether. Mind you, his time is very valuable for your organization, so keep everything crisp and consize.

4. Make it a point that the presentation of your ideas don't irritate him, however realistic they are. After all, you can not risk your job for simple reasons.

All the best.

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Compromise based on data classification

by trdgyrl In reply to CEO wants pure wireless e ...

Risk always gets a good CEOs attention.

That being said, it could prove useful to you to include a risk-based analysis in your approach. Perhaps pitch a compromised partial hardwired, partial wireless solution BUT base those two "seperate" networks on the data carried on them and the risk each solution presents to the business.

Many companies are using hybrid hardwired/wireless environments now and as a consultant I have had the opportunity to talk with them about their motivations and solutions.

First and foremost - engage your senior executives to help identify the risk to the business - they LOVE to do this once you get them talking. It is what their jobs are really all about. Engage them to help identify what data would sink the company if it were lost - think SOX, GLBA, HIPPA, etc. compliance-related risk. Once thay have assisted you to build a map of the critical systems/critical data it will be easy for everyone to understand why THIS data should not traverse wireless networks just yet.

Provide a completely segmented, internet-access only wireless environment for your visitors if you like. Broadcast the SSID for this one, and don't setup any encryption either, if your executives don't mind the idea of paying for
the folks sitting in their cars in the parking lot surfing on your company's dime.

Even setup another internal wireless network that does not process critical data at all.

Compromise based on the risk assessment.
Good luck.

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CEO is looking at convenience and bottom line

by Deadly Ernest In reply to CEO wants pure wireless e ...

he does not care about technical performance because he does not understand it - unless he is from an IT etch background, in which case he would already be agreeing with you. You need to simplify your arguement and put dollars on it.

Prepare a report for him and then deliver it with a short summary, written and verbal. Detail the security issues and the costs of securing the wireless network properly; include the performance and technical stuff and an appendix, not in the main document.

Set out why wireless is so easily intercepted and thus needs all traffic to be encrypted unless he is happy to have everyone in the world being able to read his traffic. Then cost out the software and maintenance of providing the encryption with the cost and maintenance of the wireless network. Then do a report on the cost of installation and maintenance of the wired network. Let him look at the bottom line cost for both systems with 5 years of maintenance involved - make sure to include staff costs.

With the security side include some printouts of industry articles on wifi security problems. If he is not convinced the security is required and the costs are cheaper you will never win the point.

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good work

by adetunjio In reply to CEO wants pure wireless e ...

you did displace a state of high technical know-how. it shows you know what you are doing and good at it. it is very good for someone to know whatever he engages himself.

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by NZ_Justice In reply to CEO wants pure wireless e ...

The security of a wireless network is pretty ****.

Use info in the URL as an argument to convince your boss. Also try to find an FBI report on the security of wireless networks. The FBI can hack a wireless network in about 12 seconds flat (I can not confirm this). The FBI would only do this to test the security of your wireless network.

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Great advice . . .

by paredown In reply to Security

On the last big site (for me) we had similar debates over wired versus wireless, and easily won the argument on the security issues alone(think medical records and confidentiality requirements).

However, I defer to George & the others--your facing a business problem and need to make your case on that basis too. I totaly agree with the idea of distributed switching for all the reasons mentioned, plus it adds some redundancy/easier upgrades when the time comes--and much easier to add the wiring closet space w. HVAC reqs now rather than later--this is (as mentioned) a business case argument for increasing the value of the building as anyone who has had to try and core drill to retrofit a new riser for a backbone knows...

For sure add the Wireless for guests/conference room area, sep. VLANS to keep them out of other areas. Prev. site we added WAPS in meeting rooms, so people could move from docked laptops to laptops w. wireless for presentations, etc.

Last time I was involved, I went to every building planning meeting & if you can't afford the time, delegate to someone--we didn't win all the arguments, but we limited the negative impact from non-technical savy decisions and--dare I say--helped the users from a business process point of view by adding things like combo copier printers that spool, etc... to reduce network loads...
Best of luck,

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Cost is the issue, not security

by georgeou In reply to Great advice . . .

I'll be posting a series of articles on Wireless Security, and I can say for certain that security is not an issue with a well designed network. I've always felt it's possible to have both secured Wireless and Wired LANs at a fraction of the cost if one knows what to buy and how to build it.

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Speak his language but both are correct

by Dalmatian In reply to Cost is the issue, not se ...

The bottom line is you need to speak his language. A large component of the argument is likely to be cost ($$$) but security and maintenance also factor into the cost, though maybe less directly.

As you've said, a wireless network can be secured IF you know what to buy, how to put it together and how to configure it. If you make a mistake, the weakest link detirmines how secure the network is. How well does the staff understand this, currently and in the future?

This sort of thing can make a wired network a little more forgiving.

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I addressed the cost issue

by georgeou In reply to Speak his language but bo ...

My suggestion was to lower the Wired Ethernet cost by a factor of 8. Then be realistic about Wireless costs because of security and QoS requirements. This ignores the fact that Wireless is not fast enough for heavy duty office usage.

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