New Wireless Network Planning

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Nov 10th, 2008
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We are in the midst of moving into a new building and we are going to implement a wireless network as part of the build out.


I have sat down with my reseller and spoke about the different wireless options and design and they pretty much want to deck the 3 floor building out with over 30 access points. Each floor is about 275 feet long by 100 feet wide (total of 27,500 square feet) making a rectangle. There are really no walls, just conference rooms and offices on the outside walls of the building. The middle of every floor is completely open with cubes.


Their suggestion seemed to be a lot of AP's. We are not implementing wireless voice, this is just for data. Really it will only by people when they are in a conference room. We don't have a lot of visitors and when we do, they usually sit in cubes. The wireless network is truly a convenience thing for this new building.


My thoughts were to put four 1252 AP's on each floor, and spread them out in a square for even coverage. This would give me a total of 12 access points between the three floors. I am thinking of ordering two of the 4402-12 or 25 controllers (for redundancy), along with a WCS.


Does the recommendation of my reseller make sense or are they just trying to sell me the most that they can? I have used wireless N before (home routers) and the coverage is great. I wouldn't be surprised if a Linksys wireless-N router would supply coverage to an entire floor so having to have 10 per floor just seems like overkill.


Really I am just looking for some feedback on this setup to see what my best option is. I think I am going to decline the $12,000 site survey and install fee and just do it myself. I have seen a demo of the WCS and it looks pretty intuitive.


Also, I have tried finding some sort of planning utility that I could upload a floor map and it would help me plan the layout of AP's and coverage. I know the WCS has a map tool where you can do something like this but I don't own any of this equipment yet so I was wondering if anyone knows of a free tool I could use to help plan.


Any feedback would be greatly appreciated.


Thanks!


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krishanmistry Mon, 11/10/2008 - 15:31
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I would recommended a wireless site survey from a reputable wireless company, this will save you both time and money in the future as this will determine the exact number of APs required and the coverage you will expect to receive from the APs. In addition evidence of a site survey will aid any future support calls you may have. Ap proper site survey involves setting up an test AP in its exact location and measure the Signal Strength, date rate, SNR and Interference using a wireless tool such as Air magnetic or Ekahau, in the live environment.


If you do have the budget I would recommend the 1252 AP as you rightly said coverage is improved thanks to MIMO technology, it is backward compatible with 802.11a/b/g and it will future proof your wlan network for the coming years.


As well as coverage you will need to look at ensuring the wireless network will be able to support the numbers of anticipated users, especially as your covering conference rooms. Ideally you will normally work on 15-20 users per RADIO for low level data usage.


Good luck


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patwill66_2 Wed, 11/12/2008 - 09:52
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I found that there is a tool on the WCS called WCS Planner that allows you to upload a map and it will do all the calculating for you. I found some documentation on WCS showing that you can install it and use without a license, you just cant add any physical access points to it. So I downloaded it, installed it, and had a plan in a matter of a few minutes. The software is actually very easy to use and very powerful. I was able to draw in some walls and I found that in my original design, I would have had some deadspots so I needed to add a fifth AP. The software suggests six but using five I can make the coverage work. It is very cool.


On tip though I have is that it must be installed on a server with ports 80, 443, 21 and 69 available for use. It doesnt spell that out in the install guide.

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