Wireless Access Point Installation Tips

Wireless access point installation is not that difficult but if you get it wrong, you will know quickly. I'm guessing, since you are reading this, you purchased a new wireless system and you are doing your research to figure out if you are going to do-it-yourself or hire a professional. There's a lot to take into account but these tips should help either way.

Make sure the tips you get from anywhere are from a reputable source. We have heard horror stories from clients about so called tips they have received. It gets crazy, somewhere told it can take days for the signal to get to its full strength or even saying the AP should be hung at a certain angle. It's amazing what people will say!

Having a great WiFi network is not hard to accomplish. You just need to know what to do, to create this environment. Taking these tips and following them will definitely help keep you on the right path in staying connected. These installation tips are good for office, warehouse, home or any other structure you can think of where WiFi is needed.

Wireless Access Point Installation Tips

1. Understand Network Requirements

It is absolutely one of the most important parts of your WiFi installation. You need to know how many devices will connect to this network, what are the device types and what activities will they be performing while online. Take it from me, you need to have a spreadsheet of requirements and all other device information. This will help you find issues and be able to troubleshoot them a lot easier.

2. Pick The Right Equipment For Your Wireless Network

There are so many options and professionals giving their advice on those options, it can get overwhelming. Stay strong! You have created a list of all your requirements so you know what you need! Know it time to match the needs with the budget and see what you can find that fits.

Another very important thing to keep in mind is MIMO. This refers to the number of antennas that receive and transmit on the access point itself. MMIO listens and understands the signals that the client send to it and it sends signals that are read and followed by client devices. You may see the following specs: 2x2 MIMO, 3x3 MIMO and 4x4 MIMO. The higher the number the greater the strength of the device.

The 2x2 MIMO is on the lower price range. It's good enough for most low density network. Even a lot of newer devices like high end laptops can work with 2x2. This is the same case for smartphones but a lot of older smartphones are 1x1.

No matter the device you choose to go with, we recommend models that support 802.11ac wireless standards. This type can detect interference and automatically adjust and it can support hundreds of connections in very high density networks.

You may need additional equipment to achieve the network you desire. The size of your network, the device types and what you are doing over the internet will dictate the type of network equipment you will need. You may need a firewall, switches or many other pieces of equipment.

3. Know Your Network Device Limitations

You need to keep this top of mind, your network performance is not solely based on your internet connection speed. The devices used to access the internet may have their own limitations and this should be taking into account. This may prevent you from seeing the throughput the AP says it can reach and this can dictate how you configure your network to accomplish the functionality you require.

The key is in the configuration. We typically use the same type of devices no matter it the clients need from one to one are on the opposite side of the spectrum. Some companies need a mesh network so they can walk around their office and never lose the connection no matter what they are doing online. On the other hand, a large warehouse client Makita needed something entirely different. They have hand scanners that only support 2.4 Ghz so the configuration had to be completely different but it was the same device.

Additional limitations to keep your eye on are wireless standards and bandwidth throughput. Laptops and phones may be limited to the bandwidth they can access or even the frequency range they can connect to. We have clients where we had to set up both 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz to ensure all the devices could connect to the network.

4. Confirm The Cable Types Needed

I know, I get it but your wireless network does require wires. All of your access points will need a minimum of one network cable and two if power is needed. We recommend using a POE switch that sends low voltage down the data cable to power the device. With that said, be sure your access point hs ethernet ports that are 802.3af so they can accept the power. Also, confirm the AP can use POE injectors and that they can be third party. Some manufactures program their devices to only accept proprietary injectors.

Most access points are going to require Cat5 or Cat6 cable. We advise Cat6 all the way. It does cost a little extra but the use of life will be much longer that Cat5. IT's not the Cat5 is unusable, It's just that you will have to update Cat5 before Cat6. Either way the cables are only good for about 100 meters. You may want to start thinking about fiber optic for distances further than that. Fiber Optic is good for miles! Running the cable is not cheap but sometimes you need to pay for what you need. You can check out more about cables on another blog post called Structured Cabling - Top Network Cabling Mistakes To Avoid.

5. Interference With Your Access Point

Here's how WiFi works. You access point uses radio frequencies to communicate with devices and transfer data in the form of packets. There are specific frequency ranges where WiFi broadcasts. Its 2.4GHz NS 5 GHz and between those a small number are used for WiFi. There are 11 channels for use and the most used are 1,6 and 11 because they minimize interference. 5 GHz offers more channels and is now becoming the most used.

The biggest reason for most interference is your own access points. Most people install AP's way to close to each other and the interference is significant. You need to check and plan on the best channels to avoid interference. If you are not in a densely populated are then there is probably little to worry about. If you are in the city a quick way to see how many devices are around you is to turn WiFi on your phone and see how many come up and how strong the signal is to your location.

6. Proper Mounting Location For Wireless Access Point

The go to spot is almost always in the center of the location but this may not be the best location. Think more about where the use of WiFi will be on a daily basis. Now, this does not mean put one in every room but you should plan the installation to insure proper range.

It is ideal to follow the manufacturer's recommended installation instruction. While some are best mounted on the ceiling others may work better on a wall or even on a desktop. Some AP's really limit the area and only broadcast within 30-45 degree range. You should look for an open area, away from obstructions or other technology products. When mounting, do not install behind metal like HVAC units or up inside the drop ceiling. You may need more than one access point to over your entire office but remember to not place them to losly together.

7. Check Signal Strength

Do this before you drill any holes! You need to go into each room and measure the signal. There are many apps you can download to do this easily. Power up your AP, login to your app and go! The signals that are between -100 and -85bm are unusable but -85 through -60 can be used. Signal s between -60-40 are great and you will get the strongest wireless performance here.

I hope these tips can help! They can be applied to pretty much any environment. If you re looking for a professional company, then please reach out to us asap. We would love to install your wireless access points in your home or office.

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