Wireless Network Solutions
Wireless Network design and Implementation has become much more simple, thanks to great software options. However, the downside is that wireless devices and the world of Wi-Fi continue to get more complex than ever.
Initially wireless network design involved a large emphasis on coverage, as only a select group of people used and relied on wireless on a regular basis. Today you're hard pressed to find a regular user who does not rely on wireless every day and often on multiple devices. For example, it is not rare to find a user who owns a smartphone, laptop and even a tablet. Needless to say, wireless network design has changed significantly.
Wireless Site Surveys
A wireless site survey, sometimes called an RF site survey or wireless survey, is the process of planning and designing a wireless network, to provide a wireless solution that will deliver the required wireless coverage, data rates, network capacity, roaming capability and Quality of Service (QoS).The survey usually involves a site visit to test for RF interference, and to identify optimum installation locations for access points. This requires analysis of building floor plans, inspection of the facility, and use of site survey tools. Interviews with IT management and the end users of the wireless network are also important to determine the design parameters for the wireless network.
As part of the wireless site survey, the effective range boundary is set, which defines the area over which signal levels needed support the intended application. This involves determining the minimum signal to noise ratio (SNR) needed to support performance requirements.
Types of wireless site surveys
During a passive survey, a site survey application passively listens to WLAN traffic to detect active access points, measure signal strength and noise level. However, the wireless adapter being used for a survey is not associated to any WLANs. For system design purposes, one or more temporary access points are deployed to identify and qualify access point locations. This used to be the most common method of pre-deployment wifi survey.
During an active survey, the wireless adapter is associated with one or several access points to measure round-trip time, throughput rates, packet loss, and retransmissions. Active surveys are used to troubleshoot wifi networks or to verify performance post-deployment.
During a predictive survey, a model of the RF environment is created using simulation tools. It is essential that the correct information on the environment is entered into the RF modeling tool, including location and RF characteristics of barriers like walls or large objects. Therefore, temporary access points or signal sources can be used to gather information on propagation in the environment. Virtual access points are then placed on the floor plan to estimate expected coverage and adjust their number and location. The value of a predictive survey as a design tool versus a passive survey done with only a few access point is that modeled interference can be taken into account in the design.
Additionally, some survey application allow the user to collect RF spectrum data using portable hardware spectrum analyzers, which is beneficial in case of high RF interference from non-802.11 sources, such as microwave ovens or cordless phones
Pre-Implementation & Project Support
Before we install a wireless network we will discuss in depth your requirements and what the best solution would be. We will ensure that any work required before installation is explained fully and that you are comfortable with the recommended solution. Your Account Manager will be on hand during and after the implementation to assist with any questions or concerns you may have.
Once the network is installed we complete regular system checks to ensure system is operating at optimum level via a remote monitoring service. This ensures that any network issues are flagged up and addressed at an early stage. As the owner of the network you will have access to our support team and your Account Manager for any queries or further requirements.
Use dual radio access points.
The basic concept here is that different devices communicate with access points on different frequencies within a wireless network design. If you have dual radio access points, you will allow both 2.4 and 5ghz users to connect successfully. While this may seem like overkill, it is essential for high density wireless areas.
Load balance wireless users.
While it would be nice if all wireless network designs were manufactured equally, this is not always true. Some solutions load balance users with software, which is important. A large meeting area necessitates multiple access points for a single area. Your wireless network design must allow users to move seamlessly from an overused access to point to one with availability.
Include network access control as part of the total system.
Whether you refer to it as mobile device registration or network access control, it is essential to have a secure method for registering devices that you don't own. This method adds more cost, but it will be well worth it, as it will result in significantly fewer support calls and the piece of mind that comes with offering secure wireless access.
Keep your firmware or network adapter driver for your wireless network devices updated.
Manufacturers provide firmware and driver updates on a regular basis. On some occasions, these updates will increase performance. Typically you can access updates through the manufacturer’s website. In a similar fashion, sometimes network adapter vendors provide updates to their software, which can improve reliability and performance.