Tips for effective Wireless PlanningPW Data Group
Where does one start with onsite Wireless Planning?
Placing access points intelligently will support the most users with the fewest number of access points. Start by placing access points in the middle of the office and check the signal levels. If you have only a few wireless clients to support, you may be able to use a laptop with a good signal strength meter in the wireless client utility to check signal levels. Continue to check your results with a second and third laptop, or however many access points you need. Larger companies should invest in wireless signal testing tools (some software tools are free or quite cheap) for better signal readings.
What else can we be thinking about during Wireless Planning?
Wireless Signal Site Survey
Larger organisations will need a physical RF Wireless Site Survey which does cost money but this will speed up the deployment and can reduce the number of access points by locating them correctly. Smaller companies may be able to get by without a survey if their physical location is limited. An extra access point or two goes a long way toward user satisfaction, so if you can, try to install the right number of access points to ensure happy users.
Changes in Wireless Infrastructure
Installing a wireless network requires more than just a couple of access points plugged into your existing router. In fact, wireless access points are one of the major reasons companies invest in switches with Power over Ethernet. Placing access points on the ceiling is much faster and less expensive when you don´t need to run electrical power through conduits to each location.
Small companies may be able to use a single wireless access point built into their main router as their only wireless infrastructure, but you know what they say about “best laid plans.” The flexibility of an extra access point or two is worth the expense.
When planning for user capacity, take into consideration more than just laptops and some wireless-enabled desktops. Will iPhone users start surfing via their WiFi interface? iPad users certainly will. Check with the telecom manager how phones will be deployed, because wireless desk phone handsets can use a fair amount of wireless bandwidth, and users will start to roam, which places more emphasis on the coverage, which goes back to planning.
Wireless Planning for a solid IT infrastructure
Your network hardware, software and management processes will change more when you add wireless networking than you expect. Use the addition or expansion of a local wireless network to examine and update your existing infrastructure. Bolting a new, high speed wireless network to an outdated and overworked switched network or router will only lead to complaints.