Checklist for setting up a Wireless Network Part I

My friend, Raji requested me to prepare a checklist for establishing a wireless network in his office .Here it goes. You can also use this for setting up a wireless network in your environment like cyber cafes, home, school, college campus or any public place. Before we proceed, refer this table which lists various wireless standard devices available in the market.

Wireless Standards Frequency Appropriate indoor range (feet) Appropriate outdoor range (feet)
802.11b 2.4GHz 125 460
802.11g 2.4GHz 125 460
802.11a 5 GHz 115 390
802.11n 2.4 and 5 GHz 230 820
No Checklist for establishing Wireless Network

Your Details

1 Do you have any devices of 2.4 GHz frequency range operating within your proposed wireless network?

Hint: Devices like Micro Oven, Bluetooth radios and Cordless phones operate in the same frequency (2.4 GHz) and  they would interfere with your wireless network, resulting in loss of connectivity and weak signal strength.

Recommendation: Do not use 802.11b and 802.11g wireless devices as they operate at 2.4 GHz. Use 802.11n

Alternate: Note down the operating frequency of Micro Oven and set a different channel for your wireless network, other than one used by Micro Oven. You can get this detail in your Micro Oven manual.

2 What are the wireless standards supported by your client’s wireless network card?

Hint: use netsh wlan show all command to find the wireless standards supported by your wireless network card. See the ‘Radio types supported’ column for all supported standards.

Recommendation: Even though you plan to deploy 802.11n wireless device to avoid the problem explained in the above point, all your client’s wireless network card needs to support the same standard to operate in 802.11n network. But in case, if client’s wireless network card supports only 802.11g then your whole wireless network will operate in 802.11g standard (even though you setup 802.11n device) because of backward compability.

3 Do you propose a wireless environment that is more prone to reflection of wireless waves?

Hint: Metal filing cabinet, Concrete constructions with steel bar reflect and scatter wireless signals and thus reducing the operating range of Wireless network.

Recommendation: You cannot do any alternate solution other than placing boosters in weak signal areas.

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