Wireless Network Deployment & Troubleshooting
Do your users experience drop signals, slow response, or are you adding more wireless users to your existing network? A Wireless (RF) site survey can determine what might be causing or will cause connectivity issues. Our clients often use this site survey as a basis to determine how to setup their networks, including channel allocations, use of multiple frequencies, controller and contollerless and security protocols to ensure successful connectivity throughout the enterprise.
With over 15 years of experience in analyzing, troubleshooting and implementing networks in warehousing and manufacturing facilities across the country, we understand the particular issues that occur in these environments. As radio waves do not travel the same distance in all directions, walls, shelf racking, inventory and other obstacles offer varying degrees of attenuation, which cause the radio frequency (RF) radiation pattern to be irregular and unpredictable. Wireless networks in neighboring buildings or businesses can interfere and cause connectivity and security issues. Using the latest tools and equipment we can determine the root cause of the issues and work with you on equipment and setup that will eliminate these issues.
The objective of a site survey is to gather information and determine the number and placement of access points to provide optimal wireless network coverage. Our consultant will measure signal levels and determine the right access points to ensure the fastest communications possible while providing coverage to satisfy the business requirements and budget. A site survey ensures that all required coverage areas have a solid reliable signal while minimizing channel interference among access points. Additionally, a survey can determine redundant coverage areas and optimum access point radio levels.
A site survey determines the optimal radio placement, antenna selection and channel layout to provide a framework for installation. Depending on the facility and operations, access point placement may require the use of lifts for access. Special enclosures may be needed to protect access points from the environment such as in wash down areas or possibly cold environments such as frozen distribution centers. Some of the activities may include:
Verification of coverage.
Configuration of access points to include:
Proper firmware level
Radio information (system ID, channel, bit rate)
IP addresses (provided by client)
All cabling and power runs should be done and tested prior to the installation of the access points. After completing the installation, testing for proper operation and coverage may indicate the need to move access points and possibly use different settings. Some of the testing will determine that clients are associating properly, clients are able to roam within the network and they clients can reach all required applications.
Following the physical installation, verification and testing of the wireless network provides valuable insight to future performance. For example, multiple access point environments behave significantly different than a single access point environment. Radio level tuning provides better resource allocation by reducing the coverage offered by each access point and allowing clients to better utilize the whole environment. Tuning the wireless environment to the specific facility permits better throughput, less contention and fewer problems commonly associated with wireless environments.
Final documentation pulls everything together and provides meaningful and useful road maps to your wireless infrastructure. Access point names, IP information, radio information and location information provide quick access to needed information when problem determination issues arise.
Support: Interference and Problem Determination
Interference detection is another aspect of wireless deployment that is often overlooked. The presence of conflicting frequencies or faulty equipment can at best degrade performance and at worst create havoc over large areas of a wireless network. Proper problem determination techniques and deployment methodologies provide a path to a robust and responsive radio network. Additionally, starting with properly developed baselines allow quick responses to common problems that arise and minimize exposure associated with radio frequency problems.
Wireless network security plays an important role when expanding or creating new wireless coverage and services. Wireless security has grown into a multifaceted technology endeavor. Multiple security levels can be deployed based on security needs and the ability to provide services to a variety of client devices. Open guest networks and very secure client specific networks may be deployed side by side according to the needs of the provider and the size and scope of the operations. Wireless network security must be designed based on the unique needs of each client and must ensure that the proper authentication and encryption methods are utilized in the client network and client devices.