Before you can start offering wireless Internet access in your business you have to first set up a wireless hotspot. This will involve providing a wireless Internet access point. Depending on the size and layout of your hotspot area as well as your intended usage you may have to provide multiple access points. This article will explain the concept of a wireless Internet access point to help you determine how many access points you need and how they should be created.
First you should determine how many access points you will need for your wireless hotspot. For business establishments such as small coffee shops and cafes, the answer to this question is usually quite simple. As long as the layout of these places of business is relatively straightforward and there are minimal obstructions, it is very likely that only one access point will be required.
Larger businesses, or business places with a complex floor plan may not be as simple to design. Businesses such as hotels, airports or hospitals which are large, irregularly shaped and contain a number of obstructions will likely require multiple access points. Even a small area may require additional access points if there are architectural features such as walls or soffits which adversely impact the ability to provide wireless Internet access.
Next you will need to consider the range of the router you select as your wireless access point. The range will be affected by the technology of the antenna. You can expect greater range with 802.11n routers than with 802.11b routers. This is because the 802.11b router has only one radio and antenna while the 802.11n router may offer two or three radios. Regardless of the expected performance of the router, there are environmental conditions and architectural features which may diminish the strength and range of the wireless access point.
Placement of the wireless Internet access point should also be carefully considered. In general a good starting point for a wireless access point will be the center of the coverage area. This is because the signals will radiate outward from the access point in a circular pattern. If the access point is skewed within the coverage area it is very likely there will be areas where the signal strength is weak or non existent. There will also be areas located outside of the coverage area where the signal may be strong. This is not ideal because you do not want those outside of your business establishment to be able to use your wireless network.
Finally, when you are considering the placement of your access point, you should consider a location which is free of obstructions. Generally speaking an area high on the wall or the ceiling is likely to have the fewest obstructions. However, it is important to note architectural features which can serve as obstructions. Once you select a location for your access point, always test out the strength of the signal throughout your business area. If areas with a weak signal are detected, determine the cause of these dead areas and reposition the access point in an attempt to eliminate this weak area. After repositioning the access point be careful not to fall into the trap of only re-testing the weak area. The entire coverage area should be re-tested to ensure you have not only eliminated the weak spot but also avoided creating any additional weak spots.