Top 3 Considerations When Designing a WiFi Network

Top 3 Considerations When Designing a WiFi Network

To ensure a wireless network design meets users’ needs within your working environment, careful consideration is required.

Here are our top 3 pointers for ensuring` success:

1. Define Density Use and Location

Establish the number of people to be serviced wirelessly and where they will be located. The number of people requiring the service is of paramount importance.

High density environments where many people access the service simultaneously will require load balancing of clients across available channels and airtime fairness (to avoid single individuals from monopolising all of the bandwidth) management.

TIP 1: Note the likelihood of visitors utilising the wireless connection. How many devices are likely to be active at a single point in time?

With many people comes many devices, a single individual could potentially have up to three or more devices capable of connecting to a single access point (laptop, computer, mobile and/or tablet device) at any given time.

An increase in the number of device connections is one of the primary reasons older infrastructure will have reached oversubscription. Even though personal mobile devices may not require access to the network, they can interfere by continually probing the closest access point for association.

TIP 2: Interview stakeholders to understand user requirements and if upgrading a current network use network analysis tools to determine usage by connection bandwidth and mobility.

2. Data Demand on your Wireless Network

Understanding the traffic mix running on your network and when this occurs is essential to keep up with demand in the medium to long term. Are your users going to be consuming bandwidth hungry video content or lower bandwidth applications? Are there peak periods of certain data type?

Use your analysis tools to refer to the historical mix of information.

TIP 3: Anticipate your usage patterns and add a buffer that predicts likely demand increases.
TIP 4: Know the applications used and the throughput requirements and design an SLA for each access point.

3. Infrastructure Readiness

Once an understanding of your throughput requirements for your access points has been achieved you must ensure your network backbone is capable of supporting Wi-Fi.

You will require:

o   Switches that support PoE (power over Ethernet) on every port to power all your access points

o   New 802.11ac access points can provide greater than 1.3Gbits per second speed, consider switches that cater for over 2Gbits per second ports or alternatively, run 2 data cables between the switch and the access point to take advantage of the access points full speed capabilities. In this case, the switch needs to be capable of Link Aggregation (LAG)

o   Switches capable of supporting VLAN’s

o   Data cabinets/closets within 90 metres of every access point mounting location.

Next Steps

The performance of your Wi-Fi is highly dependent on how well these network requirements are understood. Best practice involves using a reputable site survey software tool to create a predictive model that will calculate the amount of required access points and the optimum locations. This model can be verified with an on-site survey and adjustments can be made as necessary.

About NetWireless

NetWireless specialises in enterprise grade Wi-Fi integration across all industries. We design and deploy complete Wi-Fi systems including, the site survey, hardware supply, configuration, network monitoring, management and security.

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