The strain on today’s modern WLANs is overwhelming and this continues to grow at an alarming rate. The requirement for capacity has never been so critical! For the last few years we have seen the adoption of newer standards in 802.11n, and more recently 802.11ac, which promise to offer the enterprise higher speeds and better reliability.

According to Gartner, there will be approximately 26 billion devices on the IoT by 2020whereas ABI Research speculates 30 billion devices will be wirelessly connected to the IoT by 2020. Here in lies the problem! Many Wi-Fi networks have not been (and continue not to be) designed to deliver on the capacity requirement the enterprise will face with the explosion of IoT.

To meet the growing demands on the enterprise and to brace ourselves for the eruption of IoT, many organizations are realizing that the basic coverage model is inadequate in meeting these demands. So just adding more access points (APs) solves the problem, right?

Although this seems like a logical step, adding more APs is usually ineffective. This often requires new network planning and design. Effective design and high capacity planning is key to meeting the demands brought by this new requirement to support IoT.

So where do you start?

In this blog series we will shed light into the Wi-Fi design lifecycle to understand the factors that influence Wi-Fi deployment success when deploying high capacity Wi-Fi networks.

The series has been broken down into a number of simple steps, which cover the following topics:

Step 1: Define the requirements – This is one of the most critical steps to understanding the demand on the network. This has to be viewed with both hats on from a business and a technical perspective. Understanding what the business wants to achieve from a business perspective allows us as technical people to translate this into a comprehensive design. It’s also important to gain a further understanding of the infrastructure, application and client population; this allows us to define how we integrate our proposed solution better.

Step 2: Design stage one, site survey – This is a very important stage of the design, as this is where we start to define where the APs are going to be located and what potential antennas we are going to use. It’s also where we get to validate the network information collected during the requirements capture stage.

Step 3: Design stage two, Capacity planning – Once you have defined what the business goals are and you have a solid understanding of the RF environment we can start to calculate and define the AP count, client capacity and so on.

Step 4: Design stage three, WLAN configuration – This is an important stage in defining how the WLAN network should be configured. It will detail configurations for security, QoS, application control, rate limiting, radio setting, SSID settings and so on.

Step 5: Design stage four, Solution Design – This is where we couple all of the three design stages into one overriding document. The development of the solution design and architecture begins with a design process, the results of which become the functional specification.

Step 6: Wi-Fi deployment: This is arguably the easiest of all the stages, but for some reason the one many professional put the most energy into!

Step 7: Validation and Optimization – One of the most under-respected stages of the design phase is design validation and optimization based on the collected results. This is the area that, as wireless professionals and as an industry, we need to collectively spend more time on. Here is where we do a detailed RF assessment, signal quality check and define any trouble areas. Here we should repeat and validate our results until we are happy we have certified our deployment.

Step 8: Documentation and handover – Again another very important piece of the puzzle that is documenting what has been deployed, what has changed from the initial design and providing the training to the customer where required.

Stay tuned for my future blogs………..


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