Setting Expectations For Your Wi-Fi Deployment Plan
In this WLAN Decision Guide series of posts, you will find information to help ensure you are investing in a long-term Wi-Fi solution tailored to your orgnazation's needs.
Whether 2017 holds upgrades or expansions for your campus, the number one rule for a successful deployment is to not skimp on the planning. Your first step is defining your requirements, and understanding the demand on the network.
This has to be viewed from both a budgetary and technical perspective. It is crucial to advise your vendor on your exact requirements so that accurate access point locations and quantities can be determined.
Providing the answers to the following questions will help shape a clear bill of materials for your organization:
- Do you need 100% wireless coverage? What devices are you supporting?
- Laptops, tablets, smart phones and other mobile devices?
- How about services and applications, do you intend to run voice, video, and other latency sensitive apps?
- And do you require your network to have guaranteed uptime and availability?
Many Wi-Fi networks are not properly designed to deliver on the capacity requirement the enterprise will face with the explosion of BYOD, guest, and IoT access requirements. To assist with your planning, there are various predictive planning tools available today that will reduce the amount of time and effort involved with WLAN design.
Don’t be fooled though, these tools are called predictive for a reason, and may only focus on coverage, rather than capacity, which is a far more important measure of your access point count.
Every environment is different, and nothing beats a good old-fashioned, on-site survey to guarantee the success of your network. That said, in a very simplistic environment, an online survey will provide a highly accurate picture, however a validation survey should be performed in order to sample certain areas and confirm the predicted results.
During your site survey, ensure that your vendor is performing a spectrum analysis. Spectrum analysis checks your environment for non-RF interference, including microwaves, radar, cameras, and other devices that operate on either the 2.4GHz or 5GHz frequencies.
Failures to identify potential sources of interference could be highly detrimental to the operation of your wireless network. WLAN solutions that support integrated spectrum analyzers can be highly beneficial to monitor any changes in your environment once deployed.