Wireless
Channel Planning

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802.11n Channel Planning: Think Different

If you heard from various sources that planning for 802.11n deployment is black magic, think again!

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Figure 1: Microcell deployment

Enterprises are increasing the capacity of wireless networks by upgrading to 802.11n.  Primary driver for 802.11n upgrades is the 6x throughput and 2x range compared to 802.11 a/g networks.  You may have seen the typical channel planning exercise in micro-cell architecture using channel 1, 6 and 11 so as to minimize co-channel interference. Typical channel plan for coverage/capacity in 2.4GHz band is as shown in the Figure 1.

Unlike the theoretical channel planning assuming circular coverage zones, the real RF coverage is impacted by reflection, refraction, scattering and absorption.

Typical coverage pattern for 802.11n

Figure 2: Typical coverage pattern for 802.11n

In a wireless deployment using micro-cell architecture, channel planning requires careful design o cell sizes and channel assignments so as to minimize co-channel interference.  The above scenario gets more complicated by the fact that 802.11n radios that have very different propagation characteristics with coverage patterns due to MIMO (multiple-input, multiple-output)’s spatial multiplexing.

Trying to optimize the channel plan for coverage/capacity in 802.11n networks is error prone and complex.
Therefore, trying to use either planning models or careful tuning to predict the coverage with 802.11n is complex effort.

Why not use an architecture that allows you to pervasively deploy the wireless in a single channel and not worry details of channel planning?

As shown in Figure 3, the coverage plan is very simple, ubiquitous and requires no channel planning. There is no need to manually tune the channels or power settings.

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Figure 3: Single-channel Virtual Cell architecture coverage plan

Does channel planning get any simpler than this?

 

Partnered with Meru Networks, AirJuice designs and installs a single channel virtual cell Access Point Solution for 802.11a/b/g/n. We are also proud to provide Meru Assure to our customers.

 

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