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802.11 Wireless Networks: The Definitive Guide, 2nd Edition by Matthew S. Gast

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Chapter 23. Site Planning and Project Management

Wireless LAN deployment is a significant undertaking partly because there is not a great deal of structure to the process, especially when contrasted with a wired LAN deployment. Building an Ethernet network is straightforward these days. Everybody gets a switched Fast Ethernet (or faster) port, and there is a core switching location that is built on even faster, and possibly aggregated, links. For wiring, there are a number of cabling firms that spend a great deal of time pulling the wire for networks, and enough time has passed so that there is general agreement on the principles by which wiring should be structured.

In comparison, radio networks are the Wild West. Service quality from the network to the end user depends on where the user is in relation to the closest network element, and degrades with distance. Network capacity may be based on the sizes of coverage areas, and the physical layout of the building. Every building has its own personality with respect to radio transmissions, and unexpected interference can pop up nearly everywhere because of microwave ovens, electrical conduits, or severe multipath interference. To make matters worse, the quality of the network medium depends not only on what you do for your wireless LAN, but also what your users do, and even what your neighbors do.

When wireless LAN deployment is considered, you start with the obvious questions: “How many access points do I need, and where do I put them?” ...

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