Mapping Wi-Fi AP Placements

Sep 18, 2023Design, News0 comments

How do you manage mapping AP locations through your lifecycle?

In the checklist, I discussed various aspects of documentation in a Wi-Fi solution:

  • Main Report which can be treated as a HLD but touches on RF Detail Design and may also include a detailed network design:
  • Installation Specification – the instructions on what, how and where to install.
  • Network Detailed Design – If separate from the main proposal.

The documentation will vary depending on the business requirements, size and scope of a project. AP Placement mapping is a supplementary artifact showing the context of the AP placement and will be used from the implementation team to support to facility management workers.

Software Tools go so far in providing this information, but when it comes to knowledge transfer, we hit stumbling blocks around the availability of access and the information needed. There is a constant need for a single source of truth! Project Mangers, Tier 3/4 Support to field engineers can then access this single source.

Many organisations use SharePoint for documentation management, others use a wiki or other online repositories. Regardless of your organisation’s documentation practices and tool set/s we need to establish some common ground.

There have been many ways to allocate AP placements on maps be it “in Application” or “standalone” using Grids, GPS and within device naming conventions! An Access Points location will have many items of telemetry data associated with it (eg location, height, model, and antenna etc), these need consideration when mapping.

Sites and Venues are changing at a faster pace than ever before. With IoT sensors, way-finding, Room Usage and other applications, making a building, a living, breathing phenomenon.

There are many options to consider when mapping Wi-Fi networks. The common approach of Engineers is within the survey application, many allow web-based viewing via an account. This may provide some limitation of access.

Another common application is using Visio. A grid overlay could be used to plot device co-ordinates in the metadata. Thanks, Brett Verney, for this illustration, using shape data which allows you to input parameters. Review/Shape Reports allows an excel export of the metadata. Visio is a source mapping tool, and the data file can be stored in document management systems for retrieval and editing (via change management, if config change needed). If your stakeholder has concern over web hosting, then this is a good option to consider.

MapsPeople can take a floor plan and layer it on a Google Maps format, with detailed positioning, referencing corners to GPS thus providing internal co-ordinates. They currently map way finding and location tracking. This is a good platform for public buildings where an online presence is encouraged. Having building plans in the public domain, may also be of a concern. Organisations need to consider their policies in this regard, and determine what information can be public and private.

The other option explored is BIM. BIM is a module of the Autodesk platform, aka ‘Revit’ Which allows building architects to specify ALL aspects of a building, right down to paint colour and mixtures. It allows the Project owners to accurately budget their projects, knowing exactly what and where each item goes. Revit is able to slice a buildings layers, identifying concealed spaces and the space available behind the outer wall.

There are many ways to approach mapping AP’s. It is very much dependent on the application, context and policies of the project owners. It is hoped that this summary has been informative about some of the options to consider when mapping your AP’s.

This blog article was inspired by a LinkedIn question from Kevin Franzen: “What is the best way to handle AP locations from design to install to support?”

Peter Rixon
CWNE #472