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Approach for WLAN Site Survey and Planning

November 13, 2008 - 1 Comment

More businesses are realizing the benefits of 802.11n for delivering reliable and predictable wireless for mobility applications at their facility. As a result, we are often asked questions around conducting a site survey and planning for the number, location and density of access points required for the network.With these questions in mind, I interviewed Chris Kozup on the importance of wireless LAN site surveys, and planning for optimal coverage and performance when migrating to an 802.11n wireless network, as well as the general considerations, recommendations, and best practices and tools for conducting a successful site survey.Chris opens the discussion on the importance of an audit using a WLAN site survey to establish a baseline for understanding the current RF environment. The next step is to determine how wireless is currently deployed in a facility; and understand the RF environment with regard to building materials and the characteristics of RF interference. Factor which mobility applications that will run on the WLAN — now and for the future — like voice, locationing and data because voice and location-based service applications require a more prescript site survey and higher access point density versus data-only applications. Also, a fundamental consideration when deploying a WLAN for the enterprise is to select access points that are engineered specifically for the enterprise, and not the consumer market as some marketed enterprise-grade access points use consumer-grade silicon.As part of an ongoing effective site survey exercise, use tools and technologies available today to keep the WLAN consistent as when deployed. Use automated or dynamic radio provisioning technologies that allows the access point to dynamically adjust to environmental changes, and can automatically change channels or adjust the power output. Also, use an RF spectrum analyzer to detect, locate and mitigate RF interference sources like Bluetooth headsets, cordless phones and microwaves.Feel free to share your 802.11n migration experience and questions.

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  1. I'm about to install WLAN in an office building in a major city. Sit survey show the expected hoards WiFi APs already in use by other tenants.I'm looking for Cisco best practices with regard to how to assure my people get proper coverage. Can anyone point out this documentation?