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Ekahau: Planning Your Ideal Wi-Fi Network Capacity

February 10, 2022

2 minutes read

Phones, tablets, laptops, and more! Wi-Fi capacity, like business, frequently develops and transforms. New devices are being added to wireless networks every day. This amplifies not only density but overall traffic on the network. According to a recent Cisco report, the number of devices connected to IP networks will be more than 3X the global population by 2023.

 

With the rapid-fire increase in the number of devices coming on to networks, a well-designed, dependable network planned for capacity and growth is critical.

Defining Wireless Network Capacity

Wireless network capacity is a computation of the number of devices that can be backed simultaneously on a wireless network grounded on the bandwidth being consumed and the number of Wi-Fi radios accessible on the network. Along with coverage and channel utilization, understanding network capacity needs is a substantial demand when designing a wireless network.

Additional APs Doesn’t Always Equate to Additional Wi-Fi Capacity

One of the biggest misconceptions or responses when designing for capacity is to add a lot of access points (APs) to your network to accommodate the added devices. Whether designing for a new network or upgrading a subsisting network, you need to design with the capacity conditions to meet your business’s requirements.

Understanding Your Capacity Wireless Requirement

Wrong planning will affect traffic and lead to poor performance on your network. Wi-Fi is a contention grounded medium, meaning devices are contending for time to communicate on the network. When numerous devices are fighting for a spot, data rates drop. Devices hold out for an opening with an available radio and reattempt the connection. Dropped data rates mean low quality, buffering, latency, and frustratingly slow application use. It also involves increasing help desk tickets for IT or the network proprietor.

 

This is the first thing you need to do, whether making changes to a subsisting network or designing for a greenfield network. Pinpoint your capacity demand based on the devices and the applications on your network. This is called your capacity utilization network requirement, and it is critical in your design process.

 

Now let us get into the specific factors for an ideal Wi-Fi network capacity.

6 Factors for Getting Your Ideal Wi-Fi Network Capacity

  1. Devices on the network. Would there be phones, laptops, handheld scanners, or printers, and how many of each would connect to the network?
  2. Applications running on the network. How will those devices be used? Will they demand voice, HD video streaming, etc.?
  3. Throughput for each piece of equipment. How substantial is the data transferred on the network?
  4. Network topology or network configuration. What approach will be used for physical and logical topology? What will be the blueprint of the network’s nodes, switches, and APs?
  5. Accessible capacity and bandwidth. What is the condition for the application, and how consequential is the bandwidth required? Grounded on the other conditions, is there room in your network design, or will you need to make further adjustments?
  6. Future growth/needs. However, will your network be qualified to accommodate that growth with little or no changes if your conditions change?

 

So how do you design a network that can accommodate the projected growth of multiple devices? We have a tool for that. Ekahau Pro has a built-in planner that will allow you to design a network for present capacity conditions while also accommodating coming growth.

 

Ekahau Pro simplifies the capacity utilization formula to minimal simple device and usage profile inputs. It also lets you task multiple capacity zones to consider for networks with a wide variance in capacity conditions for distinct parts of the floorplan.

 

Once you have determined your requirements, you can begin constructing your predictive design and deploying your network. But capacity planning doesn’t stop once you have deployed your design. The optimization phase of the Wi-Fi lifecycle is the continuous monitoring and maintenance required for a high-performing dependable wireless network.

 

You should be consistently gathering data on your network to guarantee your design is meeting the capacity needs. Identify trends on your network like peak traffic times, packet loss, or throughput performance and work optimizations into your ongoing network maintenance. The most significant thing to remember is that network demands can alter over time, and you need to ensure your network is up to the task.

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