Wireless Network design is an art!!

The teacher of my Network Design class in college told us that network design was an art. At the time, the art was simply getting all of your servers and clients wired up in an efficient manor. Today, the art for me is to figure out where to mount a wireless access point that will provide coverage and be in a place to aid the client in a fast roam.


I have had the pleasure of going into some pretty bad areas for wireless. 40ft high ceilings with 4 to 5 layers of racking with no place to put the access point. When there is a good place for an access point, I have CAT5 distance limitations and costs to deal with. Now add the requirement of clients always moving along with people using Cisco 7921G and 7925G wireless IP Phones while driving a golf cart.

Most access points are not made to be 30ft or 40ft in the air, but there is no other place for them, so that’s where they go. The aisles in most of the warehouses are too long to simply put directional antenna’s at the end of the rows. This is the art of wireless access placement. Where to place the access point to get the coverage and performance that you need?

While troubleshooting voice and data roaming issues, I have had to be very creative in the placement of access points. I found that an access point 20ft above the floor in the corner of two drive aisles provide optimal performance of a client when going around a corner at higher speeds. Much better then on the ceiling 40ft above the client.

I had a spot that would constantly drop a call when going through a specific area. In this case, I mounted an access point on the bottom of the switch cabinet. The cabinet was mounted on a post inside a pallet slot in the racking. The AP was about 3ft off of the ground.

In areas of the warehouses where there are no high racking or tall forklifts, I always have the maintenance crew fabricate something to lower the access point from the ceiling.

Below are a couple of pictures of the access points I have had to be creative with.

Used conduit to suspend a wireless access point from the ceiling

Used conduit to suspend a wireless access point from the ceiling

Access point temporarily mounted for survey testing. Later was mounted under that cabinet.

Access point temporarily mounted for survey testing. Later was mounted under that cabinet.

Outside antenna with a Cisco 1252 inside

Outside antenna with a Cisco 1252 inside

What odd things have you had to do to get the coverage and performance you wanted out of your wireless network in your environment?

Lets get some good feedback, I’m sure there are a lot of people struggling with this issue and could use your suggestions!!!

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About Scape

Over 10 Years in the networking field. Have worked in the Service provider and Enterprise environments. I have worked with Cisco, Foundry/Brocade, F5, Riverbed, Scientific Atlanta, Routers, Switches, Firewalls, Load Balancers, WAN Accelerators, DWDM, SONET, Multicast etc...

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