Tips For Wireless Planning

When it comes to wireless connectivity, the most common cause of networks becoming prematurely inadequate or obsolete is poor planning during the design stage. In recent years, the demand for networks that can support increasing devices, platforms and applications has grown exponentially, placing even more pressure on the underlying foundations of your IT architecture; those with poor designs are becoming more and more evident as the pressure on networks grows.

Planning a next-generation WiFi network requires careful consideration of various factors to ensure optimal performance and scalability, and getting this stage wrong is both a costly and highly frustrating mistake to make. The cost of a disappointing digital experience for end users is not to be underestimated in today’s world, in addition to the elevated costs of managing a cumbersome network with frequent problems.

Here are some of our tips for wifi planning and design to help safeguard against a network that becomes legacy ahead of its time.

Assessing Current Needs and Future Requirements

Before embarking on planning a next-generation WiFi network, it is crucial to assess the current needs of users and anticipate future requirements. This assessment involves evaluating the number of devices, the types of applications, and the desired coverage area. Understanding these factors will help determine the capacity and scalability needed for the network.

Selecting the Right WiFi Standards

The next step is to choose the appropriate WiFi standards that align with the network requirements. The latest WiFi standards, such as IEEE 802.11ax (Wi-Fi 6) and the upcoming 802.11be (Wi-Fi 7), offer significant improvements in speed, capacity, and reliability. Evaluating the benefits of each standard in terms of throughput, latency, and support for multiple devices is crucial for future-proofing the network.

Designing for Capacity and Coverage

Designing a next-generation WiFi network involves optimizing both capacity and coverage. It is essential to consider factors such as building layout, physical obstructions, and user density. Conducting a site survey and using network planning tools can help identify potential coverage gaps, interference sources, and optimal access point placement. Additionally, deploying a mesh network or using beamforming technology can enhance coverage and improve capacity in high-density areas.

Network Segmentation and Security

As WiFi networks grow in complexity and size, network segmentation becomes crucial. Dividing the network into multiple virtual LANs (VLANs) or subnets allows for better security, improved traffic management, and increased network efficiency. Each segment can have different access controls, quality of service (QoS) policies, and security measures to protect sensitive data.

Implementing Quality of Service (QoS)

Quality of Service is vital in ensuring that critical applications receive priority and adequate bandwidth. By implementing QoS policies, network administrators can prioritize specific applications, such as voice or video conferencing, over less time-sensitive traffic. This improves user experience, reduces latency, and ensures efficient utilization of network resources.

Network Monitoring and Management

To maintain optimal performance, a next-generation WiFi network requires robust monitoring and management capabilities. Network administrators should invest in network management systems that provide real-time monitoring, traffic analysis, and troubleshooting tools. These tools enable proactive identification of network issues, capacity planning, and performance optimization.

Future-Proofing the Network

Planning for the future is essential when designing a next-generation WiFi network. Considering emerging technologies, such as the Internet of Things (IoT), augmented reality (AR), and virtual reality (VR), is crucial. These technologies will place additional demands on the network, requiring higher bandwidth and lower latency. By ensuring scalability and flexibility in the network design, future upgrades can be seamlessly incorporated.

In conclusion, planning a next-generation WiFi network involves careful assessment, strategic decision-making, and future-proofing. By understanding the current needs and future requirements, selecting appropriate standards, optimizing capacity and coverage, implementing network segmentation and security, prioritizing QoS, and investing in network monitoring and management, organizations can build a WiFi network that delivers high-speed, reliable, and scalable connectivity – that brings the greatest possible ROI.

Taking the time to plan your wireless network carefully is an investment in the future productivity of your business, and cutting corners now will cost you significantly later on. We offer a range of wireless site surveys to assist with the planning and design of your wireless network, just take a look.

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