top of page
  • Eric Brackett

Wireless Network Design: How to Create the Perfect Wi-Fi Plan


Wi-fi planning hero image BTI blog.

Is your team wasting time waiting for webpages to load? Are dropped calls causing communication breakdowns? Without a well-designed wireless network, these frustrations become reality. Now more than ever, a strong Wi-Fi connection is crucial for business success. It boosts employee productivity, ensures seamless communication, and keeps clients happy.


But simply throwing money at equipment isn't enough. This blog dives into the fundamentals of wireless network design and how to nail the design and implementation of your wireless network so you can leverage it as your secret weapon to maximize your network's potential!

In this blog, we’ll cover:


Keep reading! 


The Basics of Wireless Network Design


What is Wireless Network Design?

Wireless network design is the process of creating, planning, and configuring your business wireless network to meet your business-specific security, performance, and coverage needs.


Crafting the perfect Wi-Fi setup goes beyond just picking a router. It's about taking a deep dive into what makes your network tick, understanding the unique needs of your space, the applications that keep you connected, and how your site's layout can affect it all.


Wi-Fi planning is a tailored approach to ensure your wireless network not only reaches every corner but does so efficiently and effectively.


Why is Wi-Fi Planning Important?

Nowadays, your Wi-Fi can be considered a fuel that drives your business forward. Today’s communication systems, applications, and everyday work-related tasks are network-dependent. The moment Wi-Fi fails, everything grinds to a halt.


A poorly planned Wi-Fi setup doesn't just affect your workflow now; it plants seeds of trouble that can grow into major headaches down the line. Think of the costly downtime, the missed revenue opportunities, and the dip in productivity—all stem from a Wi-Fi design that wasn't up to par.



“Network downtime costs an average of $5,600 per minute.” 



In today's world, where individuals and businesses increasingly depend on Wi-Fi networks for their daily operations, the consequences of network failure could be business-threatening.  


Free Business Assessment BTI promotional image.

When planned effectively, wireless network design can be the competitive advantage you’ve been looking for! As people and organizations' dependence on Wi-Fi networks becomes heavier, having a good Wi-Fi design can be the competitive advantage that gives you an edge against the competition while boosting your business performance, reliability, and productivity.


“More than 2/3 of outages cost over $100,000.00” 



Crafting Your Wireless Network Design Strategy  


8 Steps for Effective Wi-Fi Planning

When it comes to setting up a wireless network, businesses have all sorts of unique needs. However, wireless network planning best practices apply to all kinds of business regardless of size or complexity.


The best practices to wireless network design include:

  1. Business Requirements

    1. Conduct a Site Survey

    2. Optimize to Meet your Capacity Needs

    3. Prioritize your Devices Following the LCMID Method

  2. Radio Frequency Requirements

    1. Evaluate your Physical Environment

    2. Evaluate your Building Materials to Eliminate Interference

    3. Measure RF Activity

  3. Security Requirements

    1. Create Security Policies

    2. Implement the Appropriate Cybersecurity Measures


Business Requirements 

Identifying the specific requirements of your business is a crucial first step in wireless network design, simplifying the process of translating your needs into the right information to craft the perfect Wi-Fi design for your business.  


Before starting your plan, you should ask yourself:  


  1. How many devices will require access simultaneously? 

  2. What are the key devices that need to always have a connection? 

  3. How does “good Wi-Fi" look like for you and your specific needs?  


Conduct a Site Survey

It’s important to evaluate your site to understand your existing wireless network structure design and gain information to analyze your existing performance and detect any improvement areas within your network.

There are two types of site surveys that can be conducted depending on your needs.

An active survey will allow you to analyze your network performance in a realistic and operational environment.


A passive survey, on the other hand, will allow you to collect data after new systems are installed.


Optimize Your Network to Meet Your Capacity Needs

Capacity planning is all about figuring out how much activity your network can handle and ensuring there's enough room for everything to run smoothly for everyone who uses it.


Capacity planning in wireless network design promotional image.

A site with 10 employees has very different requirements than a site with 100 workers. Effective Wi-Fi planning will guarantee you have a fast, reliable, and secure network for all the members of your organization while preventing unexpected problems that could arise as a consequence of a bad WLAN design.


Prioritize your Devices Following the LCMID Method

Not all gadgets hold the same level of significance in your operations. A savvy Wi-Fi setup zeroes in on identifying the devices vital to your organization's success, guaranteeing they receive the utmost attention and priority.

What would you prefer? Losing connection in your main server room or having downtime in your business guest room?

Prioritizing your devices from Least Capable to Most Important (LCMID) will allow you to continue with critical business tasks even when drawbacks arise.


Radio Frequency Requirements  

The physical environment significantly influences network performance. To better understand this impact, start by examining the site's floor plan and conducting a thorough walkthrough. This exploration is crucial for identifying how radio frequency (RF) behaves in your specific setting.  


Consider the following elements during your evaluation: 


  • Ceiling Height: How tall are the ceilings in the areas needing coverage? 

  • Access Point Installation: Can access points be conveniently mounted given the available access? 

  • Wall Composition: What materials are the walls made from? 

  • Network Noise: How much interference comes from neighboring networks? 

Answering these questions will offer valuable insights, allowing you to address potential challenges and craft the perfect wireless network design.  


Evaluate Your Physical Environment

In Wi-Fi-planning, everything matters. Walls, doors, metal blinds, and even the height of your ceilings all have a toll on the quality of your wireless network.

You see, floor plans are just the beginning. They don't capture the full essence of a space or its challenges. The real deal comes from getting boots on the ground operating with the proper assessment tools and software.


CTA for wireless network design blog BTI.

When you walk the site, you'll uncover much information about how radio frequencies (RF) dance through your space.


Think of doing a pre-design site walk as your behind-the-scenes access. It’s your chance to note everything from towering columns and sprawling signs to the bulky furniture that could disrupt your Wi-Fi's flow.

These explorations might also reveal spots were setting up wireless tech feels more like solving a puzzle - figuring out where access points (APs) can't go, or where cables won't reach.


By turning detective on your site walk, you ensure you've got all the right clues to create the perfect WLAN design to meet your specific needs!


Evaluate your Building Materials to Eliminate Interference

Wi-Fi signals have a bit of a tough time when they bump into walls. Depending on what your walls are made of, they can either slightly weaken the Wi-Fi signal or block it altogether.


For instance, a common drywall might only reduce your signal strength by about 3dB, which isn't too bad. But meet a large concrete pillar, and your Wi-Fi signal might just hit a dead end!


To ensure your Wi-Fi network is top-notch, it's essential to get to know the materials making up your space and how they interact with your Wi-Fi signals. This knowledge will be your best friend in creating a wireless network that delivers strong and reliable connections, no matter where you are in the building.


Measure RF Activity

The quality of your Wi-Fi signal is affected by other electronic devices and the RF waves produced by them. By getting to know the wave activity in your surroundings, you can create a smart channel plan that ensures your project runs smoothly and efficiently.


Consider the following tips to enhance your Wi-Fi's performance.


  1. Explore Your Electromagnetic Environment: Just like fish in the sea, your Wi-Fi signals move through an ocean of electromagnetic waves. Understanding what other signals are in the area while appropriately spacing your devices between each other can help you avoid Wi-Fi "traffic jams."

  2. Choose the Right Channel: Think of each Wi-Fi channel as a lane on a highway. Some lanes (channels) are busier than others, especially in crowded urban areas. Picking the less congested one keeps your Wi-Fi moving fast.

  3. Be Aware of Radar Activity: When radar signals cross paths with Wi-Fi networks, the result can be a bit like two radio stations interfering with each other—it can mess things up!


Specifically, radar waves can interfere with Wi-Fi signals, especially if both are using the 5 GHz frequency band.


This might limit the channels your Wi-Fi can use, making it less efficient. Imagine your Wi-Fi is a car that suddenly finds many roads closed and must keep detouring; naturally, it's going to slow down.


Similarly, if your Wi-Fi access points (APs) keep jumping channels to dodge radar signals (a process called Dynamic Frequency Selection, or DFS), your network's performance could drop, leading to annoying delays and buffering when you're online.


Security Requirements

Securing the top-notch Wi-Fi setup is crucial, but without robust protection, it's like leaving your digital door wide open to cyber threats. Following the next steps will ensure that your Wi-Fi remains protected at all times.

Create Security Policies

Security policies play a crucial role in Wi-Fi design by ensuring the protection and integrity of the wireless network. By implementing and following the appropriate security policies you will be able to:

  • Mitigate risks

  • Meet your industry compliance requirements.

  • Create and maintain a strong cybersecurity culture within your workplace.


Implement the Right Cybersecurity Measures

Some measures you can take to ensure that your network remains secure are:


  • Encryption

  • Role-based access control vigilant guards

  • Firewall

  • Traffic monitoring

  • Cutting-edge defense systems

  • Advanced threat protection

Conclusion

Wireless network design is much more than just setting up routers and access points. It's a critical process that ensures your network is robust, secure, and tailored to meet the unique needs of your business, your team, and your customers.


Don't settle for a sluggish Wi-Fi network! Contact us today to get a free consultation from BTI and let our experienced team design a powerful Wi-Fi solution for your business!



FAQ's

What is Wi-Fi Design


Wi-Fi Design is the process of professionally designing, implementing, and maintaining a wireless network to fulfill your security, performance, and coverage needs.  

What are the 3 phases of wireless network design?

What are the types of wireless networks?

  1. PAN (Personal Area Network),

  2. MAN (Metropolitan Area Network)

  3. WAN (Wide Area Network)

  4. LAN (Local Area Network)  


218 views

Opmerkingen


bottom of page