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The Importance of Validating Your Predictive Wireless Design

July 13, 2021

What is a Predictive Wi-Fi Network Design?

A predictive Wi-Fi network design calculates how many access points (APs) are needed and where they should be placed to meet the Wi-Fi requirements of a network. Predictive designs give you an excellent idea of how a network will perform in the environment, but they’re only as good as the information provided—as the saying goes: junk in, junk out.

Wi-Fi Validation

The Importance of Validating Your Predictive Wireless Design

Luckily, it’s easy to validate a predictive design in a live environment when using the right tools. Surveying where the wireless network will be install can generate visual heat-maps to quickly reveal any potential fine-tuning needed for the design before running the final cabling and installing the APs.
It also allows you to account for potential interferences or additional requirements you might not have known without stepping foot on site.

As the “measure twice, cut once” phase of the Wi-Fi lifecycle, validation is cheap insurance and smart risk mitigation against costly and time-consuming redesign processes that would follow a failed deployment. Remember, a predictive design isn’t final and ready for deployment until you have validated your design. Here are a few validation data points you’ll only get onsite.

Verified Floor Plan Accuracy

Your predictive design places a lot of trust in the accuracy of the floor plan CAD or other image files. Going on-site lets us validate if distances are accurate and walls are where you expect them to be. If your predictive design is based on an outdated floor plan, it’s not optimized for the real-world environment.

Wall Types and Expected Signal Attenuation

Many predictive designs are created with “best guess” wall type information. The accuracy of the Ekahau Sidekick is your best friend for verifying wall attenuation — it will give you the exact RF measurements to base your design on. By validating wall types, you’ll either confirm your predictive design is correct, or you’ll have a chance to adjust based on the empirical data you’ve collected.

Access to Predictive Design AP Locations

Site walkthroughs are your chance to verify the locations in your plan are appropriate in the live environment. Variables like exposed HVAC ducting too close to your planned AP location or other obstacles that will get in the way of mounting may require you to modify the design. The beauty of the validation survey is being able to test and optimize for all the unique site-specific challenges.

Noisy Neighbors

Predictive designs can’t design for nearby RF noise produced by neighboring networks. Your onsite evaluation is the perfect chance to observe the spectrum and capture the channel of measured energy, allowing you to optimize your network channels for peak performance while avoiding nearby interference.
Between dealing with potential asbestos testing, facilities requests to tent off an area, hard deck ceilings, temporary network outages for impacted areas, union labor, cost of running cable, etc., validating your design can prevent additional installation costs and remove risk from your business-critical Wi-Fi design.

Source: Ekahau Website

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