Seamless wireless connection is something that most businesses take for granted in the age of the mobile work force. However, this can pose a bit of a challenge to IT departments who need to balance the cost of such an operation, and risks associated with maintaining a network. Even with all of these IT challenges, enterprise investment in wireless technology continues to grow. While RF planning only constitutes a single aspect of the wireless deployment process, it shouldn’t be overlooked.
CIsco has addressed RF planning in its new e-book, Enterprise Mobility 4.1 Design Guide.
“There is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ template for the majority of requirements and environments,” the e-book authors explain, noting the detailed design work required for “AP placement, configuration, and performance/coverage estimates.”
To gain a better understanding of how individual network elements fit together, Cisco offers its Wireless Control System, which allows users to design a local area network by allowing IT managers to “import real floor plans…and assign RF characteristics to various building components to increase design accuracy. Graphical heat maps help IT staff visualize anticipated wireless LAN behavior for easier planning and faster rollout.”
Cisco specifically examines three WLAN deployment scenarios: data only, voice, and location-based scenarios. In data-only networks, APs are usually positioned 120 feet to 130 feet apart, but this is usually dependent on the obstructions that could disrupt service. A voice deployment requires more AP overlap than the data-only deployment. This voice deployment design allows for more stability and less latency, which allows for greater homogeneity trhoughout a single cell and reducing processor load in the handheld.
Cisco also considers a location based services deployment as the most complex of the three since it depends on robust cellular coverage and optimal placement of APs. Location Based Services is used for tracking multiple devices and can be also used to easily identify a rogue client and improve troubleshooting capabilities. Staggered AP designs allow for more accurate estimate of the location of a device.
The publication also covers other wireless considerations including regulatory domains and frequencies; applicable IEEE standards; RF spectrum implementation; WLAN coverage optimization and radio resource management.
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