Wireless Hotspots


Wireless Network Design

Factors to take into account in the design of your Wireless Network.



The type of applications used in a wireless environment determines the performance the users will need, which provides the basis for the signal values that will be needed within the coverage area.


Client Devices

The nodes or client devices have a significant impact on the range of your wireless network. It is important to ascertain radio receiver sensitivity, operating frequencies, and antenna type of each client radio to determine the minimum signal values for signal coverage areas.


Coverage Areas

To determine the optimal placement of antennas, it is important to find out where signal coverage is needed throughout a building.


Concurrent Users

Some areas of a building may need more than one access point in common areas. For example, a conference room may need to support 15 users concurrently using smartphones, tablet PCs and laptops.


Roaming Users

Where there is a lot of roaming of users, it is important to know the common roaming areas. A high degree of roaming demands that access points are positioned to ensure overlapping signal coverage.



It is important to know the future use of the network and any plans for additional users. If your business or organisation intends to use more data intensive applications or add more users, the wireless network must be designed with this in mind. For example, a 2.4Ghz network might suffice for basic office tasks such as email and internet surfing. However, if that same office intends using VoIP in the future, a 5 Ghz wireless network might be more suitable.



Some businesses and organisations will require the concealment of wireless networking equipment such as access points and antennas. This will impact on the placement of equipment but also on the dimensions of equipment that can be used.

Testing your Wireless Network

Before a wireless network is signed-off, it is very important that the provider completes a full test of the network. This minimizes any teething problems or disruption to the client.

The following types of network testing are recommended by Max Signal:


Pilot Testing

Before installing a wireless network through a building or facility, it can be an extremely useful idea to pilot test the network first. Pilot testing involves installing part of the wireless infrastructure in one part of the building only. This gives the client sufficient time to test the performance and reliability of the wireless network before it is rolled out throughout the whole building.


Signal Coverage Testing

Signal coverage testing determines whether the wireless devices which have been installed meet or exceed coverage requirements of the client.


Performance Testing

Performance testing determines whether the wireless network can satisfy users’ needs for specific applications.


In-motion testing

This type of testing determines wireless performance when users are roaming throughout the coverage area.

Factors to consider when choosing a brand/model of access point, what factors should I consider?

When deciding on what type of access point to acquire, you should take a number of factors into account. This includes security features, power considerations, external antenna support and roaming capabilities.

Wireless security is of prime importance. Make sure your model of access point supports all encryption and authentication types as used on your network already.

In certain deployments, getting power to access points can be a major stumbling block to WLAN installations. Make sure your access point supports power-over-ethernet. This means the access point can be powered using a LAN cable instead of having to locate the access point near a mains power socket.

If you are deploying an outdoor wireless network, make sure that your access point supports external antennas. Not all access points support this type of antenna. 

If roaming will be used a lot, the best way to ensure interoperability between your new access point and existing units is to select an access point that supports dynamic VLAN assignment. This feature makes roaming as seamless as possible.

Factors to consider when choosing  antenna type.

Outdoor Vs Indoor – Antennas are often designed for indoor or outdoor use. Outdoor antennas will usually have an enclosure protecting them against extreme humidity, cold and precipitation.

Antenna Mounting Kits – Although mounting kits are included with most antennas, some of these may not be suitable for your application. In this scenario, third-party mounting kits, which might be more suitable, can be used. For example, some wireless antenna mounting kits are patently unsuited to windy conditions. This is an important consideration for Irish climatic conditions!

Aesthetics – When installing indoor or outdoor antennas, looks can matter. The enclosures of some antennas are designed to blend in as much as possible with their surroundings.

Safety – Proper grounding should be used when installing outdoor antennas. This helps prevent natural phenomena such as lightning incurring damage to the antenna. Indoor antennas should be placed where they pose no danger to humans, including overexposure risks, or where they could interfere with security or smoke alarm systems.

Placement – Optimum placement of antennas is essential for a robust and well performing wireless network. Having an antenna wrongly aligned with the coverage zone will mean no coverage at all or a very poorly performing network.