Welcome to an IPTel blog covering Wi-Fi Design 101 and all that's involved in producing the highest performing network possible! There's a lot to the process of Wi-Fi Design and Implementation - hopefully this blog helps.
Wi-Fi Design 101: Requirements
The first key part of the Wi-Fi design process is to establish what you actually want to do with the network.
This means developing an understanding of what the customer wants to achieve with their new WLAN network, as well as the environmental and other technical constraints under which the design needs to be completed.
IPTel highlight and establish a number of key components at our Customer Requirement Gathering stage in the early phases of our engagement.
- Troubleshooting with DNA Center
- Wi-Fi Concepts
- Copper vs Fibre
- Wi-Fi Data Rates and Coverage
- Top 8 secrets to great Wi-Fi
Coverage - or the Wi-Fi Grade - that the customer wants to deploy is the most fundamental question.
The key metric is Primary Coverage. This is all about the signal you receive from the first (loudest) Access P you can see in any spot.
The next metric is Secondary Coverage. This is the coverage you receive from any AP that is NOT the nearest one to you. This is essentially a measure of the overlap from adjacent APs - and this is a key measure in determining if clients can roam efficiently.Our bespoke IPTel checklists have been designed to ensure Access Point density is correct for our customers. Without the correct analysis, coverage can be weak due to either not enough AP's or too many AP's!
Another fundamental component you need to take into account is the capacity of the network when designing for Wi-Fi.
What does this mean exactly?
Primarily, this is about the number of clients - and the density - that you intend to support as not all areas at a customer site are the same. e.g. Universities are a good example - the capacity requirements in a lecture theatre are high density Wi-Fi, whereas external is normally just basic coverage.
The changes in area density directly correlate with the number of AP's an area requires i.e. more AP's will be required in highly populated areas.
Least Capable Device
Every wireless network needs to support a wide variety of clients ranging from Laptops, Phones, Radios, TV's etc...
They’re not always that well behaved unfortunately - and sometimes they are quite old, with poor antennas and firmware. We are particularly interested though in the ones with low transmit power and poor gain antennas. These are typically small, lightweight, mobile devices.
Some devices also operate differently from a roaming algorithm point view. Such common devices include bar code scanners, smart devices, all the way through to biomedical equipment. They all operate differently as require special design requirements associated with transmit power, AP overlap and AP placement.
- The Cisco 9124
- Increasing AP Density
- Wi-Fi Surveys (Overview to the various types of RF Surveys)
- Wi-Fi Phone Dropouts
- Wi-Fi Surveys
Wi-Fi Design Requirements: Summary
Hopefully the blog has been of interest to you in exploring key design considerations that must be undertaken when planning for a deployment.
Ensuring at each stage the assessments and subsequent designs are implemented correctly will ensure you see the highest performing Wireless network possible.
For a bit more reading, we have an associated blog on the topic of Wi-Fi Design and Implementation.