Good Wi-Fi coverage requires planning
As a builder or architect, you have so much to plan: water, electricity, gas, network… and then the Wi-Fi on top of that. Unfortunately, many builders are not aware of this. They still think that the electrician does it by the way. Where the cable ends there comes the access-point. When installing the toilets, no one would instruct the installer to define the positions. In the case of Wi-Fi, however, this is often different. In order to obtain the desired coverage and to meet the exact requirements, professional planning must be done first.
Ekahau Heat-map Wi-Fi-coverage Airtime usage
How is the coverage planned?
In order to get to the desired coverage, you have to create a requirement profile. When this is clear, the professional looks at the structure of the building: Where are the walls, how thick are they and what materials do they consist of? Then he creates a simulation, which is checked on site in the best case. On-site inspection has the primary objective of confirming the simulation or indicating the need for change. If the simulation and the reality match each other, you can see how the coverage of the finished building will be and how well the Wi-Fi will work.
How do I create a profile of requirements?
Whether the Wi-Fi-coverage is good depends on which jobs you like to do over the Wi-Fi and what obstacles there are to accomplish it. So the most important questions are: How many devices should be connected, which devices are used, which amounts of data should the Wi-Fi be able to supply? Are the devices mobile? (Then the Wi-Fi must be able to roam) And should each device have more than one access point within radio range? If so, with what signal strength? Are there sources of interference?
How does planning benefit me?
Simply put, it saves you all the potential trouble that comes without proper Wi-Fi coverage. With planning the Wi-Fi-coverage you can save yourself this trouble. Imagine that after the building is finished, you find that the user of the building is dissatisfied and you would have to change the position of the access points or their number. This requires other ways of network cables, which are often laid under plaster. The new ceiling/wall would have to be reopened and closed. Fire protection may no longer be given, other switches are needed and during the conversion work is often not done or only to a limited extent… The list is long yet the solution is very simple: the Wi-Fi coverage has to be planned.
Planning helps you choose the right accesspoints
Not every Wi-Fi coverage can be reached with every access point. Some access points simply cannot cope with a predetermined user-density. Let’s take a simple example: you want to equip a hall with Wi-Fi and expect around 1000 people in the hall, all of who are supposed to vote simultaneously. However, the selected access points can only manage 50 devices. You may think: “Then I need at least 20 pieces of it”. Unfortunately, it is not that simple. The experienced Wi-Fi expert knows that in the 2.4 GHz range you can only operate a maximum of 4 frequencies close to each other without interference. (In some countries there are only 3) This means in good English: the access points bother each other and your guests – and thus you – have a problem. In the 5 GHz range, things look better, because you usually have more frequencies available, but even that’s full at some point. Thus, the planning of the Wi-Fi coverage also helps with the selection of the right access points and their positions.
Those who only pay attention to the signal strength think too short
Signal strength is usually the first criterion to be taken into account with Wi-Fi coverage, but it shouldn’t be the only one. Also, whether you can understand your interlocutor not only depends on its volume, it does not only depend on the signal strength of the access point whether a terminal device can communicate with it well. Existing disruptive factors also matter. What other radio connections are nearby? What frequencies do they use? Or do I even have too many access points in operation or use the “wrong” frequencies? You can see from these questions that Wi-Fi coverage depends on much more than just signal strength. The signal-to-noise distance is just as important in planning as the number of access points in the same frequency range and the desired capacity.
Don’t leave the quality of your Wi-Fi to chance
Gone are the days when an access point here and one there met the requirements. In the meantime, the requirements for the (radio) network have increased to such an extent that it is too important to leave the coverage to chance. Of course, sometimes it may work, but it’s not professional. Just as you plan statics, power supply, heating and lighting, a good working Wi-Fi needs planning in advance. In the case of the other trades, this has been a given for a long time. Soon this will also be the case with Wi-Fi.
There’s nothing worse for you than dissatisfied tenants or workers who can’t go about their day-to-day business because the infrastructure just doesn’t meet the needs. This problem can be easily avoided if you plan, simulate and then have the Wi-Fi coverage confirmed on site. This means that nothing stands in the way of the correct coverage of your Wi-Fi network.