We all love Wi-Fi, but you've got to install your access points somewhere. Typically they're installed on the T-Bar of a suspended ceiling - sometimes though you have to secure the AP, or hide it for aesthetics reasons. In this blog, we'll look at some options.
Some customers feel that the look of APs hanging from the ceiling isn’t in keeping with the overall look and feel of the building.
For Mental Health Units (MHUs), we commonly use recessed hatches, but in standard buildings it may sometimes be required to hide the APs out of sight.
Issues with Recessed Mounting
Any time an AP is recessed, there’s some things to be aware of.
Look into the ceiling void: as the AP is recessed, it should not have any metal obstructions right next to it, or it’s coverage pattern will be attenuated.
There's a few considerations of course around installing APs when they're recessed.
In order to cope with this, factor in an extra 1 - 3dB to cope with this
Test, measure, confirm and update your predictive model with your onsite pre-deployment survey.
This will ensure it’s accurate, based on the exact AP placement
Recessed Hatch Options
A recessed hatch is shown in the image on the RHS. This is useful when the AP needs to be recessed in a fixed (plasterboard) ceiling.
A square hole is cut into the plasterboard and the AP recessed hatch installed. The AP is now sitting slightly back from the face of the plasterboard, so will be attenuated slightly in the side-lobe.
The amount of attenuation depends on a few criteria:
What is the hatch made of? The front of it should be plastic or a thin board
What is the adjacent ceiling made of? Typically it’s plasterboard, so depending on how far recessed the AP is, there will be a bit of attenuation sideways
Are there any adjacent obstructions? Any obstructions right next to the recessed AP will affect its coverage pattern
APs Behind the Tile
Some customers will want the APs installed behind a ceiling tile - and for this, there is a special bracket:
This bracket allows APs to be recessed, with the ceiling tile in front of the AP. There is of course some attenuation, which will depend on the type and thickness of tile used in front of the AP.
Cisco have a guide for deploying APs behind ceiling tiles:
Recessed AP Installation: Summary
Recessed tiles are one way to hide an access point and the recessed mounts come in a variety of options, from ones which are cosmetic though to ones which provide physical security for the AP.
Installing behind a tile is an option also - be careful to label the ceiling though, so you don't lose track of where you installed all those access points.
There's a range of other options too, from Wi-Fi floor tiles, bollards and smart lampposts - there's a lot out there to help you hide away your Wi-Fi, so you can love the service is delivers, but not spoil the aesthetic of your building.