Planning a Wireless Network

If you are thinking about a wireless network in your facility, there are some things to consider. Planning and installing a wireless network is not easy nor are their very many third party companies that can do it well (as many of you reading this can probably attest). So what should you look for when deciding which third party company to help you plan and install a wireless network? Minimum performance requirements should be as follows.

RF Site Walk Through

A Site Walk Through is critical aspect of a Site Survey. This step is where we flesh out and document the a customers expectations. In an RF (radio frequency) site walkthrough, we quite literally walk through and map out your job site. In particular, we are looking for:

  • maps of the facility and desired coverage areas
  • desired throughput (amount of data your planning on transmitting over the network)
  • the number and type of wireless devices you plan on using
  • what kind tools and equipment is needed for the Survey
  • when is the best time of day to do the Survey
  • etc…

Without a thorough walk through, you are already off to a bad start. The most important part of planning a network is documenting and meeting all of your business requirements. Dead zones, blackouts and the like will slow down business and have some potentially serious ramifications on your bottom line.

RF Site Survey

After the initial walk through, a more comprehensive survey of your facility will need to be performed. An RF site Survey, or wireless site survey, is a planning session which takes into consideration many variables that will affect your sites performance. It is important that a qualified professional plan a wireless network to meet your business need around your current site. A wireless site survey is important for many reasons.

Power – Discovering is the best way to power a network. For example, should we use Power Over Ethernet (POE) and if so how?

Network Cabling – Determine the length of cable runs between access points.

Measuring RF Coverage – Evaluate the frequency and spacing of access point locations based on coverage areas.

Checking for Other Networks – Identifying other pre-existing wireless networks in your facility.

Antenna – Selecting the correct antenna for each area in your facility in order to maximize coverage and band width.

Blue Print – Document and report out and detail the location or each piece of equipment needed.

Wireless Network Implementation

After the Site Survey Report is finished you should receive a report a very detailed report. Once you have been provided a copy of the report all you have to now is implement. This includes running network cable, installing the access points and antennas and configuring the system.

Guide to Smart Printing by Intermec - FR

image credit: kewl

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