I have been involved with supporting thousands of wireless networks over the past 14 years. From large professional sports arena’s to small home networks, I have seen successes and failures alike. What follows are my learnings from living with the pain and the success of these networks.
- Do not cut corners on coverage. The biggest and most egregious mistake that our customers have made over the years is shopping price over coverage. The fewer access points installed the lower the net cost of the install. You may not realize this mistake during initial trials. Once your network is at full capacity coverage issues can be a nightmare for both customer and vendor.
- Use the best available technology. There are many different flavors of technology when installing a wireless network. Note, the best technology may not be the most expensive, and the newest technology may not be the most reliable. As for specific recommendations on technology , I will include information in the comments section as information becomes available.
- Don’t let the advertised SPEED of access point specifications overly influence your decision. There are many factors that ultimately affect the end-user connection speed. In many cases the top advertised speed of an access point is unattainable. For an analogy would you pay an extra $50,000 for a car that could go 200 MPH when the speed limit is 75? I have seen buildings with a 100 megabit link to the Internet , purchasing 20 1 G access points. Even for future expansion purposes this is way too much overkill,
- When choosing an IT company to help with the install, The midsize or small company in your area is likely a better bet than the large IT company. I have personal experience working with a company that went from a great company to work with to a nightmare over a period of years. The reason was as they got bigger and hired more employees, their talent pool become more diluted ,their prices got higher, while their work quality become a sore point with their customers.
- For large complex installations think about paying for a simulation. A company like Candelatech , specializes in simulating various loads on wireless networks and is well worth the up front investment prior to build out.
- Congestion control. Disclaimer: Yes we make a bandwidth controller and yes we are biased toward this technology. On many networks the best design and best wireless equipment are rendered irrelevant if there is not enough bandwidth to feed the animals. A wide open heavily used network will come to a halt without some form of intelligent bandwidth control.