My Layer 8 Rant

17 posts by 9 authors in: Forums > CWNA - Enterprise Wi-Fi Admin
Last Post: April 20, 2012:
  • I am definitely [i]not[/i] a wireless expert, nor would I ever use the moniker "engineer" when it comes to wifi. I had our wireless project dropped in my lap about 3 years ago after the vendor we had hired to do our initial deployment (still g back then) dropped the ball.

    I've spent the last 3 years learning everything I can about RF - doing site surveys for practice, playing with power levels and channels, varying numbers of clients, etc.

    I'm likely still not qualified to design and deploy our 802.11n upgrade on my own, but I can at least recognize the need for a proper survey before dropping in access points.

    The entire goal here was to have high density coverage - I work in education - with every kid in every classroom with a laptop. Yet the sales dude has done a plan for coverage. All Layer 8 sees is 'fewer access points = less money' and a heat map that is all green. Green means good signal, right? :/

  • Haha Well said Rob!! That kind of stuff is exactly what I am talking about!

  • Indeed! Well said.

    I've even had to start changing the format of my Ekahau screenies from the default colour scheme to a "shades of green" because otherwise people question the quality of the deployment!

    I think the key is to know your limitations as an engineer/expert, and call in "fire support" when you meet a challenge you can't handle on your own. (Finding companies who can provide this is a thread in itself!)

    For me (also in education) it's getting capacity those big lecture theatres that makes me nervous.

  • I agree, High Density can be tough especially with high ceilings. Remember to keep Cell size low and add more APs to fight the density. Take a look at the VRD from Aruba. You might have to be logged in to see.

  • As a new MSP, I can say it was very easy. Training is scarce other than to sell product. I have assisted with wireless projects with other MSP's that were experts and even brought in the manufacturer to do the heat maps and layout as you guys were discussing above. We were doing a warehouse building for forklifts and production line computers. The manufacturer was so far off on their product it was not funny. We ended up having to triple the initial estimate of access points, and the access points did not connect as many devices as advertised. Rule of thumb is at least half from what I have seen first hand. In the case of the warehouse, aisles of stacked flat boxes would completely kill signal from one aisle to the next, and there were a lot of surprises. As an MSP, I am having all of my people go through the wireless certification so they are fully knowledgeable. However, we have all seen the exam cram tech's. There is no substitute for first hand knowledge, and the pitfalls you find in the field.

  • @Jon Foster - Why would you change the color shading of Ekahau? If it isn't a quality deployment (either one you're implementing or troubleshooting) then show that it isn't and why it isn't. Don't dumb down the tool.

  • Spickles,

    It didn't sound to me like he was trying to make excuses for Ekahau.

    I assumed he was making color changes for the benefit of mgmt. who couldn't understand that red = good.

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