By Claus Hetting, CEO Wi-Fi NOW
All the tools for great quality Wi-Fi are already here. It’s about balancing prediction accuracy against a speedy planning process, says iBwave research director Vladan Jevrevomic.
The remedy for shoddy Wi-Fi
We’ve all tried it: Shoddy Wi-Fi with coverage holes in your hotel room or overloaded Wi-Fi in the cafeteria at work. For the always-connected lifestyle, bad Wi-Fi is a deal breaker for consumers and businesses alike. The ‘trick’ – if there is one – is to make sure Wi-Fi network planning is done right. And that’s about making the Wi-Fi planning process accurate as well as fast, says Vladan Jevrevomic.
“Wi-Fi deployments range from the really complex such as stadiums to small, single-floor office buildings. To get Wi-Fi right, choice of planning process must match not just the size and complexity of the project but also the time you reasonably have available to complete it,” says Vladan.
Getting it all done by lunchtime
Vladan says iBwave’s target is to allow engineers to finish even a complex Wi-Fi design quickly. “Even for a stadium with hundreds of APs, the work should be doable in a day. For something smaller than that, you should be able to get it done by lunchtime,” says Vladan.
iBwave’s 3D Wi-Fi planning and design software has an advanced prediction engine that will give you all the accuracy you want, even down to a couple of dBs of mean error. But it’s at least as important to use the right tool for the job, says Vladan.
“One of our most popular tools is intended for technicians to go on site and do rough planning during a site survey. It’s all done on a tablet, and you can even drag-and-drop APs as you like, run predictions, and view heatmaps. You can then upload the design to the Cloud and continue working on it at the office or hand it off to others for more detailed work,” says Vladan. The tool is especially useful for large organisations like telcos, Vladan says.
Ray tracing & capacity planning
The science behind accurate prediction results for Wi-Fi comes in three parts: iBwave models trace radio signals as ‘rays’ that can be either direct to the device, reflected, or diffracted, Vladan explains. To get sub 3 dB accuracy models need to trace myriads of rays and then calibrate the results through a few on-site signal measurements to tune model coefficients.
This kind of process is typical for large, complex deployments like stadiums. Add to that capacity planning that includes numbers of users and data consumption per defined area and of course on-site verification once the network is up and running.
“If you get the planning part wrong, you’ll likely pay too much or too little for your network. Or even worse: You’ll have unhappy users. But getting the planning done at all is the first decision to make. And it helps a lot if you know that it won’t keep you away from the rest of your work for very long,” says Vladan.
iBwave is the power behind great in-building wireless experience, enabling billions of end users and devices to connect inside a wide range of venues. As the global industry reference, our software solutions allow for smarter planning, design and deployment of any wireless network project regardless of size, complexity or technology. Read here for more.