WiFi network planning with a portable router

When a space for future WiFi network is a blank canvas you cannot just guess how many access points this network will eventually require to provide a perfect WiFi coverage. Thanks to NetSpot WiFi plans are as precise as can be without any guessing. The best part is that you won't need more that one portable WiFi router for high-quality WiFi network planning.

WiFi Planning: Setting WiFi Coverage and Capacity Goals

To start the wireless planning right, you'll need to set the coverage and capacity goals, create a predictive model that calculates how many access points (APs) you'll need and what their ideal placement should be, verify the accuracy of the WiFi planning predictions with the help of a manual site survey, and be ready to adjust as you go.

A good WiFi network plan is supposed to answer these questions:

  • How many APs is the network going to need?

  • What is the most efficient placement?

  • What configuration for the access points will work best?

  • What coverage and performance am I aiming at?

With NetSpot WiFi planning tool the aforementioned questions can be answered pretty precisely by creating a predictive design.

Use the most suitable WiFi Planning tool

Even if you have developed quite a good eye and can predict where the access points will go, it may not be a good plan for a large network that will be using multiple routers and may spread out to several floors of the building. In such case it is better to make precise calculations and develop a solid WiFi network design. The best part - you don't need tens of routers to plan any size of WiFi network - one is enough!

WiFi network planning tools generally work like this: load the floor plan, set the scale of the plan, and perhaps define wall materials on the floor plan. With this data a software app will be able to estimate how far Wi-Fi signal can travel in each direction of the plan.

This is how you plan and set up a new network with NetSpot WiFi planning site survey tool: start a new project and define your survey zone, place your hotspot in the designated location, take several samples, create a new zone snapshot, move on to another location and take samples there. Once done with the whole space, merge your survey snapshots and they will appear as one complete project just as if you were measuring an existing network with multiple access points in place.

By performing WiFi network planning site survey with NetSpot WiFi planning tool, you'll get the most precise data for the most efficient hotspot placement that meets and exceeds coverage and capacity requirements. This WiFi network planning site survey takes all important factors into consideration including the existence of neighboring WLANs, adjacent and co-channel interference, and the existence of electromagnetic signals from non-WiFi devices, which can affect the SNR of devices on the WLAN.

WiFi planning: tips & tricks

Some helpful tips to keep in mind when making a predictive WiFi design:

  • Use one map image per floor, don't lay out several floors on the same map. Assume one floor to be one zone. Breaking floors into multiple zones may not work very well.

  • Be accurate, but keep it easy. There’s probably no need to draw every piece of furniture on the map. Simply drawing the main interior and exterior walls will do it.

  • If you’re going to use location tracking (RTLS) indoors, place the APs in the corners and rooms instead of hallways. Don’t place APs in the same locations on neighboring floors, but rather in a zig-zag pattern.

  • Use the heatmaps to evaluate the result. Does it meet the initial requirements or needs some tweaks? Not that it needs to be said, but use an optimal amount of APs - not too many not too few.

  • In spaces with high ceilings, play with antenna downtilt / uptilt positioning.

Once you are done with your off-site design, time to do the pre-deployment and post-deployment surveys on site with NetSpot WiFi planning tool to ensure the best result is achieved.

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Runs on a MacBook (macOS 10.10+) or any laptop (Windows 7/8/10)
with a standard 802.11a/b/g/n/ac wireless network adapter.