How To Scale A Wi-Fi Network

Wifi Network

It can be quite tempting to deploy multiple APs ( access points) when expanding the Wi-Fi network at your business. However, it is best to consider a few factors to guarantee a high-performing result without spending a considerable amount of money.

One of the most important and primary things you will need to decide is what you wish to accomplish. Once you have done that, you should analyze the existing Wi-Fi network setup at your business or home. This will help you understand how well the existing network is serving the coverage area. Now, you can proceed to the deploying and designing APs part.

Set Clear Goals

It is important to understand that scaling up a Wi-Fi network might take several forms. In some cases, it means the deployment of a new Wi-Fi network in a business while it can also be increasing the density of the network for serving more customers in the same location. 

You will need to initially identify how many customers or clients are using the Wi-Fi network at a given time, clustered together, and the bandwidth demands of apps they are using. Providing excellent coverage by using just a few APs is the primary goal of the Wi-Fi network to be cost-effective.

Router Security:

if your wi-fi does not have proper security, you can welcome cyber theft at any time. An insecure wi-fi can expose sensitive information during data transition you do generally. When you think of router security, there should be complex and unique passwords to avert third-party access. All routers have a unique numerical address. You should create a name and a password and a type of encryption in a security setting. By doing this, you can secure your router. The encryption type can be AES encryption, WPA, WEP that can be applied to the router for better security.

Analyze The Existing Network Setup

Wi-FI surveying is critical for showing how well the currently deployed APs are offering coverage to customers. If there are no heatmaps for your existing Wi-Fi network, you will have to do a survey. This will enable you to guarantee that the Wi-Fi network is healthy and gather a baseline of performance. 

These surveys will also make it easy to find the ideal locations that will act as new access points for the Wi-Fi network. You should be able to do the following list of things by upgrading the Wi-Fi network. 

  • You must be able to access the area or space, which need better coverage
  • You must be able to have a clear idea of how many APs are required in such areas for supporting clients 

How Many APs

The next thing you should do is estimate how many APs are required in an area. You can begin calculating the required APs through simple mathematical calculations to get an approximate client to AP ratio. 

Most AP vendors will claim that they will handle a hundred three hundred or more users per AP. However, you will need to understand that you will most likely want to support nearly 15 to 50 customers per AP ratio when it comes to real-world applications. 

It is crucial to remember that this will surely depend on what kind of apps clients are using. The clients per AP ratio will be higher in stadiums and high-density environments.

Scaling up a Wi-Fi network does not mean replacing and ripping all the current APs, but before you plan to do so, it is best to evaluate the capabilities and age of the existing APs. If they can support only up to 802.11g, it is best to consider replacing all APs during the scaling process. 

If you do not want to replace the APs again in the future, then you must compare and evaluate features. In addition to that, you should consider future-proofing by considering how Wi-Fi will change with time and thinking about the Wi-Fi standards that clients will support. 

You can feel free to do absolutely everything that can boost the capacity of the Wi-Fi network without including or adding more APs. The chances of co-channel interference will be a lot lesser when there are fewer radio frequency signals. 

Disabling the 2.4GHz band and turning down the power levels are two other simple ways through which you can avoid co-channel interference. It would help if you also were thoughtful regarding the placement of APs. This is because placing APs in spots where you will be able to utilize the furniture or building for causing attenuation will help better contain signals from the APS. 

You must also use Wi-Fi analyzers for minimizing co-channel interferences and ensuring seamless roaming. However, you will need to make sure that the signals will not interfere with one another.

Capacity Of Wired Networks 

When you are evaluating the existing Wi-gear, you should not forget to analyze the existing infrastructure too. You will need to check and verify how many APs your wireless controller is capable of supporting. The scaling of the Wi-Fi network or upgrade might also push the networking infrastructure, which means you might need to replace it.

You will also need to find out the network switch capacity that additional or new APs will require. Once you have figured it out, you must ensure that large enough and sufficient switch ports capable of handling the upgrade.

Extending Coverage of The Existing Wi-Fi Network 

If you wish to extend the coverage of the existing Wi-Fi network to a hundred feet or less, you will initially need to assess the heatmaps thoroughly. This will help you to determine whether you can achieve the task by tweaking the current APs.

Increasing the power levels and making some minor AP movies will surely help you to push the coverage. However, if you are looking for more coverage, you will most likely need to add new APs and run more cables after finding optimum locations.