Web Design

Topics: Wireless LAN, Wireless access point, Wi-Fi Pages: 11 (3110 words) Published: August 22, 2013
White Paper| WLAN Design and Site Surveys

This paper aims to introduce the user to the concept and need for WLAN design and deployment methods. It also educates the user on site surveys, the preferred method for accurate design for WLANs.

History of WLAN Design
WLAN design has come a long way in the last couple of years with fundamental changes and acceptance in terms of the setting of design requirements, goals and methodologies for successful WLAN deployments. Before there were professional and purpose-built tools like AirMagnet Survey for WLAN design and deployment, the entire WLAN design and decision making process was very rough and rudimentary. Most users responsible for WLAN deployment employed a so-called “back-of-a-napkin” technique or did not design the network at all before deployment. This led to improper deployments of the network, which in turn led to wasted time, money, effort, and most importantly, a lack of positive results for the users in terms of connectivity or optimum performance. “Back-of-a-napkin” technique In the “napkin” technique, the user responsible for WLAN design drew the floor map on a piece of paper. In most cases, this map was simply a square or a rectangleshaped box that represented the 4 walls of a building. Next, the designer would mark 4 locations at the corners of the building and 1 in the center representing locations where APs needed to be placed. This design method would then be repeated for every floor. This method has some major shortcomings that must be overcome in order to have a WLAN that provides optimum security, performance and compliance to the user. Shortcomings include: 1. No consideration into the actual capabilities of the AP (channels, media, transmit power, etc.); 2. No consideration into locations where APs could be placed dependent on availability of the power or Ethernet cable drop points; 3. No consideration into coverage bleed-over outside the corporate building, which is a major security risk; 4. No consideration into signal coverage at locations on the floor where users require WLAN coverage; 5. No consideration into user load on the WLAN; 6. No consideration into WLAN network’s readiness for specific applications; 7. No considerations into the performance of the WLAN including data rates, throughput, packet statistics; 8. No re-use of Access Points across multiple floors of the building; 9. Many more… Examples that compare this technique with “professional WLAN site surveying” are covered later in this paper. Professional WLAN Site Surveys Site Surveys are needed to ensure the successful and efficient deployment of wireless networks. To understand the need for a survey, you should first understand the basic goal of a wireless network, which is to provide appropriate coverage and © 2010 Fluke Corporation. All Rights Reserved.


White Paper| WLAN Design and Site Surveys

performance to all end users while keeping interference to a minimum. RF signals are very unpredictable. If an access point is placed in an open environment with no obstacles, the signals usually maintain an omni-directional pattern. However, when obstacles and walls with different characteristics are introduced, the RF signals are disrupted and access point coverage will vary based on location. Site Surveys determine the signal coverage, throughput requirements, interfering sources, dead spots, potential roaming behavior, etc. This helps determine: 1) What wireless equipment to purchase, i.e. how many access points to buy 2) Where to deploy access points 3) How to configure each access point for optimal coverage and best WLAN performance for all end user It can easily be said that without site surveys, it would be difficult to determine the capital investment needed to deploy the wireless network in a timely and efficient manner. It is important not to generalize every wireless deployment in terms of requirements. For example, an office environment with only data clients using...
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