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Free or Low cost Wifi RF Planning Tool

Posted on 2011-03-14
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Last Modified: 2013-12-09
Does anyone know of a Free or low cost RF planning tool that I can use to plan my new 802.11n wireless strategy?  I really dont need anything that complex, this is for an office building with 22,000 sq feet but I want to make sure I give coverage for my B/G clients as well as maintain the fastest speed for my N users.

Thanks!
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Question by:TPRays
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Darr247 earned 125 total points
ID: 35140674
You have only 3 channels to work with in the 2.4GHz band. To statisfy the the latter requirement (fastest speed for N users), you should put the b/g traffic on channel 1, and use channel 6 with wide channel 'high' (or channel 11 with wide channel 'low') for your N users.
When 2.4GHz 11n sees 11g traffic on its channels, it drops back down to 22MHz channel width (which tops out between 130 and 150 Mbps connections), anyway.

Also keep in mind that some equipment makers (e.g. Apple, Cisco, Intel) might never support wide channels on 2.4GHz, to avoid creating more interference for their installed base of legacy devices... so if many of your users have Apple or Intel adapters (or you're using Cisco APs), consider restricting 11n-only to one channel with 2 allocated for 11g-only until the 11n users are in the majority (and at that point switch to 11n-only with wide-channel taking 2 of the channels leaving one for 11b/g-only). If you have very few users with Apple/Intel adapters, you could enable wide channels and they'll still be able to connect... they'll just get maximum connections of 130-150 Mbps, while the 40MHz-wide channel users can get up to 270-300Mbps connections.

You can use metageek's free inSSIDer on a laptop to check for competing networks and signal levels from various locations. There is no software, free or commercial, that can take the place of a physical on site survey to properly locate the APs or antennae for best coverage.
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by:Darr247
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> There is no software, free or commercial, that can take the place of a physical on site
> survey to properly locate the APs or antennae for best coverage.

Maybe I should have finished that with "in my opinion," but I have yet to see the program to make me change my mind on that. :-)
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