Wireless Network Design Considerations

Instructor: Vignesh Sivabalan
Designing a wireless network requires a careful examination of a variety of design factors. This lesson will give you insight into these design considerations.

Wireless Networks

A wireless network is unbounded and does not suffer from the overhead of wiring. Wireless networks are robust and flexible and lack the need for protection and physical path routing. It is normal behavior for designers to ''copy-paste'' the design of the existing wired networks when designing wireless networks, but this approach needs a little revision as wireless networks require installation talents and less equipment than the wired networks. The following are the wireless network design considerations:

  1. Site survey
  2. Point-to-point bridging
  3. WLAN roaming
  4. Use of wireless networks
  5. Number of network users
  6. Construction materials
  7. Types and capabilities of wireless client devices
  8. Infrastructure devices in network

An example of a wireless network set up is shown in the figure below:

Wireless Network

Site Survey

The site survey is the initial stage of the wireless design phase as it is very important to survey the site before a wireless network installation. The site survey objectives vary depending on the kind of business looking for a wireless installation. The major objective of the site survey is to identify the optimal sites for wireless network to reduce channel interference and maximizing ranges. The site survey also determines the size of the wireless network to be configured.

Point-to-point Bridging

When there are two wireless local area networks (WLANs) that are located at a minimum distance apart and are in the line of sight, it is always advisable to configure wireless bridges; running a network cable between the two buildings is not a good idea. Two Wireless Access Points (WAPs) are needed for creating one two-port bridge. WAPs are configured nodes or hardware devices configured on the local area network which allow wired networks and wireless devices to connect through some wireless standard like Bluetooth or Wi-Fi. The configured wireless access points operate in a dedicated bridge mode-point-to-point, and no longer seem like a wireless access point mode for clients.

Point-to-Point Bridging

Wireless Local Area Network (WLAN) Roaming

The cost of installation of a wireless local area network (WLAN) is cheaper than wired networks. The throughput is determined in a wireless local area network by the proximity of the WAPs. Overlapping WAPs are installed by network managers to increase throughput, thereby decreasing the cost. The major requirement is that the overlapping WAP signals should be placed inside non-overlapping channels. These scenarios need WLAN roaming. The WLAN roaming plan considers that when the network users move away from one particular WAP and lose signal strength, their connections must seamlessly move to a stronger-signal WAP.

Use of Wireless Networks

In order to identify the number of wireless access points that are needed to configure a wireless network, it is necessary to find the intended use of that network. For example, if you are establishing a wireless network for a casual application like a cybercafe, WiFi is required for social media, internet browsing, checking mails, etc. A much more configuration with multiple wireless access points is needed in the case of larger establishments that run high-end applications including graphics design, database programs and electronic imaging.

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