Business Runs on Wi-Fi!

In the last 20 years, Wi-Fi has exploded from an ancillary add-on to standard issue on just about every network-connected device.
From self-driving forklifts in warehouses to medication delivery service bots in hospitals to the fleet of laptops and phones deployed throughout your organization, business runs on Wi-Fi (and cables are just tripping hazards).

And yet, every day we see companies continue to struggle with Wi-Fi networks that simply can’t keep up with the demands thrown at them.
The out of the box, plug- and-play approach to Wi-Fi doesn’t work at the small to midsize business level and is laughable at the enterprise level.
A simple coverage gap in a warehouse can delay shipping routes costing thousands recouping lost time.
Mission-critical Wi-Fi networks — the ones your employees rely on every day to do their jobs — need to be properly designed and maintained.

That’s where this guide comes in, to help you:

● Establish accurate Wi-Fi requirements that will lead to a high performing and reliable Wi-Fi network for your business
● Better understand the functions of professional Wi-Fi design and diagnostic tools
● Recognize the day-to-day changes that can impact your Wi-Fi signal and how you can stay optimized to account for changes over time

Unfortunately, you can’t lick your finger and stick it out the window and see how hard the Wi-Fi is blowing. But what you can do is follow this guide to great Wi-Fi every day. We’ve demystified the invisible spectrum that Wi-Fi operates in and broken the key to great Wi-Fi down to 3 Easy Steps:

STEP 1 - A Great Network Starts with a Great Design

A Wi-Fi design serves as a blueprint for your wireless network. Ultimately, Wi-Fi design is the process of taking your business’s requirements for Wi-Fi connectivity and turning them into a plan for a high-performing and reliable network. It’s the translation of your business needs — how many devices need Wi-Fi (capacity) and where they need it (coverage) — into a deployment plan detailing how many access points (APs) you’ll need, where they need to be installed, and how they should be configured in order to satisfy the demands of your users.

Coverage

One of the most fundamental Wi-Fi design considerations is coverage planning. Primary coverage is all about area and optimizing the distance around your wireless transmitters to ensure there is sufficient signal strength for Wi-Fi-enabled devices to connect. Layering in effective secondary coverage ensures you have the right amount of overlap to ease device roaming and provide redundancy for your business-critical Wi-Fi needs.

Poor design can result in either too many APs (which can increase your overall hardware and installation costs and can cause Co- Channel Contention / Interference) or too few APs (which will not provide the necessary coverage requirements and result in coverage gaps).

 

Wi-Fi design tools like Ekahau Pro provide a clear idea of coverage and signal strength allowing you to modify AP locations and configurations on the fly and visualize exactly how those modifications can impact coverage in the environment.

Capacity

Capacity planning goes a step beyond coverage and takes into account the different types and number of devices and applications that will connect to the network. Wireless network capacity is a measurement of the amount of traffic supported concurrently on a wireless network based on the bandwidth being consumed.

Poorly planned capacity requirements can be devastating for users. Slow speeds and intermittent connectivity drops can be the result of not identifying proper requirements for usage. It can also be a symptom of growing pains as more users are added and new devices become introduced over time without adjusting for the increased capacity demand.

Capacity needs can also vary for different areas of a site, depending on your use case. Let’s take hotels, for example. The guest rooms, lobby, outdoor pool, and conference center may each have unique capacity requirements — and Wi-Fi design software like Ekahau Pro makes it easy to design different capacity areas for the unique needs of each area.

Identifying the Least Capable, Most Important Device

While reviewing the various types of devices that will be connecting to your network, it’s key to identify which devices are the most critical, and which of those devices is the least technologically advanced — these are known as the Least Capable, Most Important devices (LCMID).

Believe it or not, designing Wi-Fi for the latest devices to hit the market is usually quite straightforward, it’s identifying the one device that if it were to suddenly go offline would grind business to a halt — that’s the tricky part.

Here are some of the usual suspects for your network’s LCMID:

  • A 10-year-old warehouse scanner used 12 hours per day to scan barcodes for

inventory management

  • The point-of-sale registers used to facilitate retail transactions
  • Your CEO’s laptop (simply refuses to get a new one)

For these types of devices, you need to research the manufacturer’s posted specifications to ensure they will perform reliably on the network. Your predictive design is only as good as the inputs you define, and determining your LCMID is critical for the design of your Wi-Fi network.

For Steps 2 and 3 please download our free '3 Easy Steps to Great Wi-Fi Every Day' Guide below

Download WiFi Guide

Looking To Start Your Own Wi-Fi Networking Installation??
Chat With Our Team Today & We Can Get Started On Your New Project!