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WLAN Project

I have been assigned a wireless LAN project and need some help with where to start hardware, number of access points and how big the footprint is from each of the WAPs and how many WAPs each of the WLAN controllers can support


Re: WLAN Project

Well, there is no answer ... or more correctly, there are way too many answers to cover on a forum page.

Even with some details (which you didn't provide)only a good comprehensive site survey can give you the real answer.

Some of the wider variables:

Area needed to be covered,

type of area (open / partitioned / walls (what type? concrete, drywall, wood)),

type of APs,

type of antennas,

extension cables? how long?,

other RF devices in the area,

other interfering signals in the area,

type of clients,

type of NICs, type of drivers / software ...

This type of evaluation is far too complex to be done by description. You need eyes on-site (and the eyes have to be connected to someone that knows what they are doing).

Post up some details and we can give you some general guidelines; beyond that, get wireless contractor to do your site survey ... it is, by far, the most important stage of a wireless project.

With information from a properly-done site survey, you can design a stable, functional, (relatively) headache-free system.

Good Luck


Community Member

Re: WLAN Project

Further Details

This is a project for a college course I am taking so I kinda want to know the right way to implement a wireless network.

First off this project is starting from scratch there is no wireless network at the site so I am choosing what the customer gets and I need to know what the right stuff is. Each room has 30+ clientsThe site has multiple rooms. This is to respond to a customers needs in a college setting. Each of the rooms is separated from the others by walls With this project I need to know what I need between the switch and the access points and how big of an area the wireless access points cover. I am going with all cisco products.


Re: WLAN Project

Steve, as Scott mentioned there is no one answer for you. His post is an excellent starting point. He gave you the information you would need to gather to start this project.

- You need to know exact wall types (dry wall is completely different than cement/brick). You are best off with a predictive site survey tool or some APs and a physical site survey tool to determin actual propagation for the environment. You also need to decide the specs for the site survey.

- If you want to support VoIP, Cisco has some good documents with specific wireless VoIP requirements.

- If you only want data, what minimum data rate do you want?

- The type of mounting surface will often determine the type of AP. If it is a wall mount but you need 360 degree coverage, I would go with 1241ag APs. If it is ceiling mount, 1131s are great. For uncontrolled areas, 1241s are great because you can mount them in a NEMA enclosure.

- The quantity of APs, budget, and the network layout might help determine if you should go with autonomous APs or LWAPP ones. Usually I go with LWAPP for easy of ongoing support, but there are always exceptions.

We are not trying to be difficult here. This is just how it is. Companies make a lot of money on site surveys, but it is not for nothing. There are a lot of factors that must go into planning, or the project will flop.

Hope this helps,


Re: WLAN Project

802.11 Wireless Network Site Surveying and Installation

by Bruce E. Alexander

Publisher: Cisco Press

Pub Date: November 09, 2004

Print ISBN-10: 1-58705-164-8

Print ISBN-13: 978-1-58705-164-7

Will give you a ton of infoormation regarding this topic and take you through a series of basic steps.

As Eric already stated you need to first lay out the service requirements, before you can say how many APs you need.

To elaborate on one of eric's statements. While an AP in theory POSSIBLY cover ~300 ft it doesnt mean it will actually provide the required bandwidth needed by a certain application. Nor does it mean that you will not suffer from attenuation due to the environment. Another example, A bar code reader for inventory is going to require less than say a PDA which is pulling xray images.

This isnt considering the planning to ensure theres no overlap if theres multi-floor. Also while 5ghz is rare, possibly there are business requirements or whatnot which makes 5ghz more appealing.

I think i sum up most of my statement and parts of the gents before me with the following. Given a sketch of a facility, you simply can not plan nor expect a fully functional wireless network. There are in fact rules of thumbs as with every trade and technology however getting everything to play nice with one another is an endevor.

Hall of Fame Super Red

Re: WLAN Project

Hi Steven,

You can't find better experts than the 3 that have responded to you so far. Scott,Eric and Robert would not lead you down the wrong path, so stick with them and you will be well on your way (don't forget to give them a nice rating for taking time out of their day to try and help you).

OK ..... my question for you is this, is the project just a theoretical design or will you be implementing it as well?

Let us know, along with a few more details so we can make some progress with this.

Take care!


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