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8 Tips to Design an Outdoor Wireless Network like a Pro


Here are some tips to design an outdoor wireless network like a pro:outdoor wifi, outdoor wireless networks, enterprise outdoor wifi, when to use outdoor wifi for your business,

Google Earth is your friend

Use Google Earth to layout your network and design your coverage areas. The tool is free and with the ruler tool you can measure across the campus and compute how many square feet, or acres you need to cover. This is a great starting point and will help you visually layout the network.  Incorporate it with Visio and now you start looking professional

Find a good RF planning tool  

Google Earth was a good start but now you need something that incorporates GPS, site survey processes and RF measurements. There are several out there that are free and others that are a cost. Tools we recommend are Meraki’s WiFi Mapper, Aruba’s Visual RF and Outdoor Planning Tool, and Air Magnet Survey Pro.

Use 802.11n and if possible 802.11ac

Legacy wireless standards are no longer the standard and 802.11n will soon be a thing of the past as well. 802.11ac is the new standard and it offers so many enhancements over 802.11n, however, if you can't spring for the latest standard 802.11ac is backwards compatable with n technology so a scaleable, mixed environment is possible.

Access point density is preferred  

Check out Novarums’ whitepaper titled “2010: Guidelines for Successful Large Scale Outdoor Wi-Fi Networks”. They specifically point out that “more bars are not necessarily better”. More access points is a better metric and provides for a better wireless client experience due to better throughput, less latency, better radio usage and less client contention. After surveying 175 different networks Novarum (see whitepaper link above) found that the common denominator in all networks that produced high coverage AND high performance was high access point density.

Know your devices  

Plan for the devices that will be using the wireless network. Are the devices laptops, tablets, PDA’s, VoFi phones, smart phones, etc…? By knowing the devices and their capabilities; transmit /receive power, encryption levels, radio type and antenna count you can design to work within the device limits or take advantage of their feature sets.

Know your applications  

Planning for the types of applications that will be used over the wireless network is important here. If you plan too small you are going to have problems in the future when the wireless network is asked to host other applications. This is where I say over build because in our experience once the network is installed it is ALWAYS asked to do more.

Choose a great Wireless Network Solution, not just a good one  

The foundation on which you build your structure will be the success or downfall of your design. If you choose a platform that is limited in its functionality and scope your network will not be able to grow. There are several good wireless platforms out there and they fill the niche for whatever they are good at. However, most of them aren’t proficient outside of what their focus is. For instance, one vendor may excel at outdoor coverage but has no solution for indoor wireless. Or another is a great hotspot solution but does not scale well or have features for use other than for guests. Don’t paint yourself into a corner and wind up having two disparate systems for your wireless network.

Allow for adjustments  

RF is a dynamic medium because it can be affected by many different variables. Rain, trees, concrete, cars, people, earth all have an effect on RF signals. Because of this you need to build in some adjustments to your design. Pick some secondary access point locations in case a tree line interferes with coverage of a field or park. Use your wireless platforms automatic RF optimization features to detect WiFi interference and adjust the signal quality. If you keep in mind that the RF is always changing and you design with it in mind you will be successful. 

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i really liked how you presented your lay out , am designing a municipal wifi network for a city,i would really appreciate more recommendations form you 
Posted @ Wednesday, February 15, 2012 2:14 AM by byron
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