10 best practices for high-density wireless network design

Wireless networks that were once designed to support a few laptop computers must now routinely host a wide range of mobile devices.

Commissioned by Netgear, a technical white paper by Palmer Research is intended to help IT administrators understand basic guidelines for determining wireless access point (AP) throughput, as well as bandwidth requirements and best practices for wireless deployment in high density environments such as schools and small/medium businesses.

"As usage of smart phones and tablets continue to gain in popularity, the trend towards BYOD [bring your own device] continues to gain momentum," states the paper's executive summary. "Wireless networks that were once designed to support a few laptop computers must now routinely host a wide range of mobile devices including smartphones, tablet computers, and e-readers -- often with these devices running bandwidth-intensive applications such as video. As a result, IT administrators are increasingly faced with the challenge of how to design and deploy a wireless network that can accommodate the exponential growth in network devices and applications."

See also: The risks of 'taking BYOD too far'

The paper includes the following 10 design recommendations, billed as "best practices based on many successful installations," which are intended to "serve as guidelines for proper design, planning, and deployment of a wireless network in a high density environment."

1. Identify high-density areas.
2. Use dual band access points (APs).
3. Design in AP overlap.
4. Load balance traffic.
5. One AP per classroom in educational networks.
6. Set AP power lower.
7. Upgrade the wired network.
8. Conduct a physical site survey.
9. Conduct a network stress test.
10. Share knowledge.

View/Download the white paper.

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