Five rules when installing WiFi networks

There are several factors to consider when planning the installation of a wireless network. Any WiFi installation plan requires expert help in order to get good results.

A good result means that all users get a good WiFi signal with a good download speed. All too often a user has a low WiFi signal, which results in a slow download speed and intermittent network disconnections.

So, let's talk about these important rules.

1. What WiFi technology to use?

WiFi products come in two types, wired and mesh. Wired products connect back to a central switch using cat6 Ethernet cable so the cost of the cable installation will be higher than the cost of the WiFi equipment. Mesh wireless requires only one product to be connected to the Internet router with an Ethernet cable; all other WiFi units connect to the first one using WiFi. Mesh saves on wiring installation cost but a user will connect to the Internet through several mesh ‘hops’ and each hop will reduce the speed of the connection so the range or radius of the mesh coverage is limited to 4 or 5 hops.

2. What type of WiFi antenna to use?

The choice of antenna is very important. An omni directional antenna is installed in the center of a space and radiates in a circle around the product and is good for the center of a building ceiling but not good for the top of a mast as the strongest signal will be high above the head of a guest. A directional antenna gives a stronger signal in one direction so it is good for the corner of a building or for the top of a mast with a down tilt. Beamforming antennas are expensive but give the best results.

3. What type of WiFi equipment to install?

There are many types of WiFi equipment on the market. Low cost equipment will have a shorter wireless range and will connect fewer people, maybe as few as 30. Expensive equipment will have a longer range, especially if it has a beam forming antenna, and can connect many people, maybe as many as 300. The expensive equipment gives better results and fewer products are necessary to cover a larger area. When considering the cost of the project remember that more low cost products will be required, and fewer expensive products, so expensive wireless access points may work out cheaper for a big project.

4. How to install WiFi products?

This depends entirely on the location where the WiFi will be installed. An open plan office space is easy; install WiFi wireless access points on the ceiling. A hotel might install WiFi wireless access points along the ceiling of each corridor, spaced so that one wireless access point covers 5 to 10 rooms. An RV park requires one or more wireless access points to be mounted high up on an antenna mast so that all the guests have line of sight to the antenna.

5. Where to install WiFi products?

The location of WiFi wireless access points cannot be guessed. A WiFi engineer has to make a site survey which means taking a portable wireless access point and measuring the signal strength around the location. The customer has to pay for a site survey. A building with internal sheetrock walls will allow a WiFi signal to pass through. A building with internal concrete block walls with rebar will block a WiFi signal. When the location of wireless access points is guessed instead of measured then rework will be necessary as users will complain about a low signal strength, so what was initially a cheap project becomes more expensive than paying for the site survey at the start of the project.


If you have questions about your WiFi installation we have a free e-book that you can download which will help for some situations.

For more details, please contact us at or give us a call 1-800-213-0106


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