The Net Shape Ingredients for the Best Wireless Network
A good wireless network involves a few firm steps, which are recommended to be taken by someone who knows what they’re doing. At Net Shape you will find many such people, some of the best.
In the following we will tell you some of our secrets, principles that we do not deviate from when we create a wireless infrastructure. The hundreds of hours spent configuring wireless networks, hundreds of designs made for customers that wanted the best wireless network are our reference in this field, and make us confident that we can approach any wireless network project, no matter how hard it is.
To put it simply, the stages in creating an excellent wireless infrastructure are:
- Gathering data in the field
- Analyzing the data and setting priorities
- Designing the wireless network
- Installing the network
- Monitoring the operation of the wireless network on an ongoing basis
- Periodic activity report for the wireless network
Generally these are pretty much the steps we take for each individual project. And we are not talking about a large or very large wireless network; these are the steps that apply to any wireless network, no matter how small. Well, we could leave out the networks where we have a wireless router that we connect to the Internet and that’s all. Even in such cases though we can make optimizations that can significantly improve the Wi-Fi signal.
Now let’s take a closer look at each of the steps, to get a better understanding and to realize how important the above steps are and, why not, how important to have the wireless infrastructure built by someone who is very good at it. That is to say, by us
Gathering data in the field
Many “professionals” in this field are satisfied just to get a map of the place, load it into the software that simulates the required radio infrastructure for that map. This is not bad, it is a step forward, at least they move up from “eyeballing” by which a so-called specialist goes to the location, takes a look around and signs the contract: “it’s simple: we put 3 Aps here, 2 more here, use a controller like that and we’re done, it’ll work like a dream”. It won’t work like a dream at all, we can tell you that. Or, even worse, if it works it will be because it is overloaded with equipment, so you’ll pay much more than it’s worth. This is because that “professional” is not in the habit of measuring and probably cannot even apply basic principles of radio propagation. So, to not take any chance, they just add tons of equipment and something must happen. Well, you don’t have to settle for that.
For us, gathering data in the field is the most important stage. The entire project starts from this data and, depending on its accuracy, the wireless network will perform or not, will have the value for money we all desire or not. While we don’t use cheap equipment, we don’t want to do expensive projects. It may look like a paradox, but it’s perfectly valid. By our measurements, we manage to optimize the required wireless equipment and get excellent results at very good prices.
Returning to the data we collect, it includes topographic analyses (layout, wall materials, openings with areas, number of stories, etc.), and also radio measurements to show us the opportunities of the location and the difficulties, the closed areas where we will need to get the signal. We are helped by measuring devices (laser points for distances, radio spectrum analyzers), and by our experience in configuring any kind of wireless network. While each case has its own particulars, there is a clear common denominator, a point we rely on in every project. Where that point is and how we define it remains one of our professional secrets
Analyzing the data and setting priorities
With the data we gathered from the field we start to prepare the “battle plan”. Of course we are always limited by the available budget for each individual project, in relation with the needs we identified in the field. We don’t like compromises, so we will try to optimize to the max, starting with the draft of the wireless network design, so that we get to the design stage with certainties and with a well-defined set of priorities. The saying “the Wi-Fi should work” does not interest us that much. It will work, but it’s important how it will work, how covered the area will be where the new Wi-Fi installation is done, what will the quality of the signal be, how many concurrent users are expected for the area/building, and finer points such which “parasites” are in the area (other networks that may interfere with our wireless infrastructure) etc.
All such data is considered in the next stage, wi-fi network design.
Designing the wireless network
We are at the point where all the plans we have made, all the data we have gathered and the theoretical principles we apply to a wireless network are starting to get a shape. Everything is turning into a project for which we handle the design with much care. For us, it means hours of work we do out of pleasure and passion, but carefully following all the results we targeted with the customer for the infrastructure.
The professional design of a wireless network will take all the above elements into account, but also the discussions we have all the time with the owner of the infrastructure. For instance, there are times when we find “ideal” layouts to cover the space, but the feed-back from the owner says “no, please, I don’t want any equipment there”. We use technical arguments, but we listen carefully and we are ready to make adjustments. We always keep that plan B in mind and we try to have every secondary solution as good as the first choice.
In designing wireless networks we use specialized software, it helps us a lot, but the decisions have a subjective aspect that comes from our experiences so far. Software can give us “ideal” simulations, which require serious adjustments. This is why we said in the beginning that to obtain a well-optimized wireless network it is not enough to use software that shows us where to place the wireless equipment or how many pieces of such equipment we need.
One of the essential goals in designing the wireless network is its security. The Ruckus Wireless technology is a great help, as we managed to provide a high degree of wireless security using it.
Installing the wireless network
After going through the first stages, we already have a project that is completed in theory, with a set budget. All we need is the client’s OK to go to the installation stage. Because we do our homework very well, the nuisance for the customer will only be minor. Even for complex networks, prior design helps us complete the installation of a wireless network in just a few hours. We know from our simulations how many meters of cable we need, where the power supplies are, even how many screws we need
Monitoring the operation of the wireless network on an ongoing basis
The end of the installation for the wireless network coincides with the time when the project is launched. From that time, the client has a functional wireless network, which we guarantee. The Net Shape guarantee also consists of monitoring the network operation at all times, a procedure by which we ensure that all performance criteria are met at any given time, but also a possibility to fine tune the network in real time. We often encounter cases when the estimates for concurrent connections received from the client are exceeded at certain times, so we are careful and intervene in order to keep the wireless network “clean” and capable of providing top performance.
Periodic activity report for the wireless network
Depending on the goals that were set in the beginning with the owner of the wireless network, we prepare a personalized network activity report on a regular basis. This reports helps the client understand the behavior of people who use the network, see who and what needs, what not, who and why overdoes it. Behavior in a wireless network is diverse, even more so for networks that act as public hubs. Net Shape reports come with concrete data, analyses and figures, but also with sets of measures that can be implemented to limit abuse.
Of course, we can use this report to see how many hours the children spent on the tablet and what they did online, but also how many customers visited our location, what they accessed and even where they spent the most time. We have also talked about the marketing opportunities provided by a wireless network in this article.
If you need a high-performance wireless network, made by a team of professionals, we invite you to contact us. We will answer you as soon as possible. We are in the network!