4 Different Site Surveys That Will Improve Your Wireless Network

We’ve had a few recent requests for this, so we thought it was the perfect topic for our blog this week!

Site Surveys are kind of like all the ways you can cook shrimp. You know, like in that scene in Forest Gump when “Bubba” goes on and on about the many different ways you can cook them?

Whilst there aren’t quite as many as Bubba rattled off, there are quite a few and they all have their specific place in the wireless network design process.

Before we get into the various site-survey types, it’s important to mention that site-surveys are not the design process but merely a component in the process.

Here are the many faces of a site-survey; what they are for and when they should be used.

1 – Predictive Site Survey

This type of site survey offers cost and time effectiveness as well as being extremely accurate. Using both RF and specialized algorithms, a predictive site survey simulates RF in your specific environment.

This software has become very accurate and gives an incredible view of their environment. When combined with an experienced Wi-Fi service provider, a successful design even in high-density areas can be achieved. The key to a good predictive survey is to have as much information as possible; we recommend using floor plans and building blue prints.

2 – On-Site

This type is highly recommended for more complex wireless objectives. This usually encompasses applications that roam from AP to AP and also tend to be latency sensitive. For example, RTLS in hospitals, wireless video surveillance and multi-media over wireless.

Typically with an on-site survey you use the predictive results to test them against the wireless design to prove that design in the real world, paying close attention to interference or noise. It’s important to simulate the applications that will be running on the network to make sure they work seamlessly.

3 – Passive

These types of surveys are good for validating your design requirements and used to collect RF data from all of the access points in a given area. It allows you to plot heat-maps giving you a nice view of where your coverage spans and where there are holes at different levels.

Some of the main design elements a passive survey can help validate are primary and secondary RSSI, Interference (noise), SNR and co-channel interference.

4 – Post Validation

A wireless network design can be great on paper but real success is when it performs exactly as it should for what it was designed to support. A post validation site survey makes sure your new network is performing as it was designed to, using the requirements you established at the beginning of your design.

Testing and measuring every detail guarantees you can support your applications or processes successfully with your new network. Some areas to take a closer look at are: data rates, device to radio ratios, jitter, latency and QoS, high density areas and co-channel interference as well as other RF characteristics.

You can even use an application performance test to test your network from the application side of things for a unique view of your networks performance.

It’s important to understand the various types of site-surveys; to know when each is needed, and to make sure your next wireless network is successful. In doing so we’re sure your stress levels will without a doubt go down.

Why?

With high quality analysis and detailed planning from using the right combinations of site surveys, you’ll be confident knowing your wireless network will not meet your requirements but in most cases exceed them. Proper planning allows you to quickly adapt and address issues (should they arise) precisely and timely, meaning less stress on you!

If you have any questions about your next wireless network design or you would like to have a site-survey started for your business/organization today, you can get in touch in one of the following ways:

Contact us: London 0203 322 2443 | Cardiff: 02920 676 712 | Winchester: 01962 657 390 |  info@geekabit.co.uk

 

https://www.securedgenetworks.com/blog/4-site-surveys-that-will-improve-your-wireless-network

Selecting The Best Antenna

 The following post talks about the importance of selecting the best antenna and understanding coverage patterns.

In any RF system, the antenna is the radiating element. RF waves are to be propagated through free space, and it is this component that causes this to happen. The antenna device also receives the RF signals from other transmitters. Available in various forms, the antenna results in varied radiation patterns and, therefore, various coverage patterns given the same RF power input. The antennas design impacts the reception of RF signals, in addition to varied radiating patterns.

Key factors when selecting an antenna are the gain of the antenna and the radiating pattern, as well as the frequency range for which the antenna is designed. Antennas should be either 2.4 GHz or 5 GHz antennas in most AP or bridge implementations today. Once you have identified the appropriate frequency band, the appropriate gain and radiating pattern must be selected.

Today, antenna gain is usually listed as dBi and is measured in decibels. This metric is achieved by comparing the antenna’s gain in the intended radiation direction against that of a theoretical isotropic radiator. The isotropic radiator is a theoretical antenna, radiating energy equally in all directions out of the antenna. Whilst it is considered spherical, no such antenna actually exists. For example, the common antenna included with a consumer-grade wireless AP or router is a 2-3 dBi antenna. This simply means that the antenna has 2-3 dB gain in the direction of intended propagation.

A higher gain antenna (for example, 11 dBi as opposed to 2.14 dBi) will radiate a receivable signal further in the intended direction in free space. Of course, indoors there will be reflections and other RF behaviours, so the signal may not radiate as far at acceptable signal levels as it would in free space, but it would still radiate farther than a lower gain antenna.

Now, the final part to consider when selecting an antenna is the radiation pattern or simply, the antenna pattern. Antenna charts are the most frequent mode of communication of antenna patterns. The horizontal and vertical radiation patterns of the antenna are shown in the charts. 

In the elevation charts, the vertical pattern is shown, and the Azimuth chart shows the horizontal pattern. 

Helpful tip! Remember that the elevation chart shows the radiation pattern of antennas as if you are looking at it from the side. The Azimuth chart shows it as if you are looking down on the top of the antenna (assuming the antenna is vertically upright).

Elevation = side view

Azimuth = top view

The following images show each chart type:

 

Once you’ve got the hang of this information, you can use it to easily select the appropriate antenna for you and understand the different coverage patterns you can expect from them.

 

London 0203 322 2443 | Cardiff 02920 676 712 | Hampshire 01962 657 390 | info@geekabit.co.uk

 

https://www.cwnp.com/selecting-best-antenna/

Calculating RF Wavelengths

Calculating RF Wavelength

Why would you need to calculate RF wavelengths I hear you ask? Well, an antenna needs to best receive the intended frequencies, thus the length of RF waves impacts decisions being made during the design process. This means you need to understand the wavelength of the RF waves being generated in a given frequency.

There are 2 basic formulas you can use to calculate RF wavelength. One is used for feet and the other for metres.

The following post will provide the formulas you need, plus an Excel spreadsheet for calculating the wavelengths for each 20 MHz channel centre frequency in the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands.

802.11 channels work on a centre frequency. In the below spreadsheet, you will find the centre frequencies for each 20 MHz channel in 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz.

Wavelength Calculator

To calculate the wavelength in feet, the common formula is:

wavelength = 984 / frequency in MHz

The common formula to calculate the wavelength in metres is:

wavelength = 300 / frequency in MHz

 

So what are you waiting for? Get calculating!

Alternatively, you could give us a ring here at Geekabit – We are the Wi-Fi Expert afterall! With offices in Hampshire, London and Cardiff you could just get in touch with us and avoid the potential mathematical headache by letting us sort it out for you.

London Office: 0203 322 2443 /  info@geekabit.co.uk

Cardiff Office:  02920 676712 /  info@geekabit.co.uk

Winchester Office: 01962 657 390 /  info@geekabit.co.uk

https://www.cwnp.com/calculating_rf_wavelengths/

WiFi Faces Technical Challenges

The emerging wireless standard promises better WiFi but the promise introduces significant complexity.

IEEE 802.11 standards (g, a, n, ac) delivered WiFi performance improvements out of the box. They focused on progressively increasing the data rate over the wireless link. All that was needed to take advantage of any new standard, was a radio chipset that incorporated the new radio and MAC enhancements.

The situation is different for the upcoming 802.11ax standard. The focus of 802.11ax is not on increasing the data rate but on improving the overall wireless network performance. This introduces significant new radio and MAC enhancements such as OFDMA and BSS colouring.

Ranking high among the issues is a transmission-scheduling mechanism. The downlink transmission scheduling in WiFi has been a simple FIFO (First In First Out) system. 802.11e introduced a small variation regarding the maintenance of multiple transmission queues for different priority classes.

However, 802.11ax introduces significant complexity in wireless transmission scheduling due to its OFDMA and MU-MIMO enhancements.

  •  With MU-MIMO, there is now an option to transmit a single wireless frame to a single client or concurrently transmit different wireless frames to multiple clients using multi-user beamforming.
  • With OFDMA, there is now an option to transmit a single wireless frame to single client using traditional OFDM or concurrently transmit different wireless frames to multiple clients using subsets of channel width.
  • 802.11ax introduces multi-user transmission in uplink direction too. The AP needs to schedule multiple clients for concurrent uplink transmissions according to their requirements.

These methods need to take into account service requirements of traffic flows, radio conditions on the channel, client capabilities and client state feedbacks. It is no easy feat to come up with scheduling mechanisms that will work in most practical scenarios with relative ease of configuration and fine tuning.

Children and Technology: how young is too young?

The generation gap is getting bigger and bigger the more technology advances. We see it every day with children, yes CHILDREN have better phones than you do. How often do you see it in the work place or a social setting where everyone in on their phones and not talking?. Well it’s worse for the children of today. Gone are the days where you would go out, climb and tree and hurt yourself!

Studies are showing how big of a role social media and technology play a part in a Childs life today. The average age for getting a smart phone is currently 10.3. Children use their phones overwhelmingly to text and 31% of parents surveyed said their kids have texted them even when they’re in the same house together.

There is of course a useful safety feature on a smart phone of being able to use the GPS to track your child. Although this doesn’t not sound like a fun part of growing up as that is the last thing you would want being a teenager, it certainly has a time and a place. While not many parents have embraced the ability to use Smartphones’ GPS capabilities to track down their kids, the number who has used this function doubled from 7% in 2012 to 15% in 2016.

Phones have risen on the list of devices kids look to for entertainment on car trips and remain second only to iPads and tablets as the engagement option of choice for the road.

  • Tablets have taken off for this purpose, increasing in usage from 26% to 55%.
  • Phones come in at 45%, up from 39% in 2012, and DVDs have fallen to third place in the car with 35% reporting usage today, versus 48% in 2012.
  • The once popular Nintendo DS now dropped to a distant fourth choice at 24%, down from 40% four years ago.

Parents’ restrictions (texting, social media platforms, apps, timing) on their kids’ phones increased from 14% to 34% since our last survey. Proving to be most common form of punishment for todays technological geeks. Especially as 50% of children will have social media account by the age of 12.

  • Social media consumes kids today as well, as most score their first social media accounts at an average age of 11.4 years old. The largest percentage of kids – 39% – got their first account between ages 10 and 12, but another 11% got a social media account when they were younger than 10.
  • Facebook and Instagram represent the most-used social platforms among kids, with 77% using each. But Twitter continues to climb with 49% of kids, and a newer entry, Snapchat, with 47%. No other social media platforms have a significant presence on kids’ radar.

What are your thought on this topic? Do your children have smartphones? How much do you monitor their use and what they are looking at? Let us know.

Do you know the difference between mbps and mb?

Data and download speeds are all that we barter for when it comes using the internet nowadays. How much data you have is all the phone companies have left to reel you in with on a new offer. Lets break it all down and look at what the differences are.

A bit is the fundamental unit of information that we use in our computing and also in communications. The word ‘binary digit’ is shortened to form the word ‘bit’.  Therefore, we use bits in all our binary digit computations. The computation and communication here mean the digitals ones.

A byte is the unit of information that is used in digital fields and is equals eight bits. We generally address the memory spaces in terms of bytes and it forms the smallest addressable unit of memory space that is been used in computer related technologies. It is referred as ‘B’ in the digital electronics and we should note that it forms the different notion from that of a bit. So an eight-bit can also be called as a byte or simply with ‘B’.

Notions for Bits and Bytes:
We shall write the above-mentioned notions here, to understand it better.

1 bit = is denoted as ‘b’.
For example, it can be written as 1 b.
It’s bit length = 1.
1 Byte = 8 bits is denoted as ‘B’.
It’s bit length = 8.

The capitalisation of alphabets means a lot in these notions. A bit is simply written as ‘b’ whereas a byte is written as ‘B’. As already noted, what they are and what values they can hold. The letter ‘m’ here means Mega. The value 10is noted simply as Mega so that we can use it in our digital computations with better understandings. When we find a notion as ‘mb’, it means megabits and ‘MB’ means Mega Bytes. So noting the capitalisation of the betters can mean a lot.

The abbreviation ‘mbps’ means megabits per second and it is always used to denote the speed of transmissions. You might have heard it when you opted for a broadband connection. This is what you are sold your broadband on and what you are sold and what you get are two very different things. You can always check the download and upload speeds you are getting online.

Hopefully this will arm you with the information to help you make better decisions in understanding the differences between mbps and mb.