Design-Fi wrap-up

by Michael Lester

Posted on at 10:16am

On Wednesday the 11th of December Catalytic IT ran our first wireless focused event, nicknamed “Design-Fi”.  The goal for the day was simple – to provide you with vendor independent, industry-standard advice on designing a wireless network, for your organisation.  The event was held at The Raffles in AppleCross, a beautiful riverside location with a great selection of food & drink for our attendees, in the RiverSide room.

Welcome to the event!

Our presenter (Michael Lester) spoke at length on the Wi-Fi Design lifecycle, as outlined by the peak wireless professionals body CWNP, and delved into each of the areas in a little more detail, offering attendees practical information they could take away and utilise in their own environments. The content was focused around best-practices, and general advice for walking through the process including wireless fundamentals, and some of the toolsets available to engineers when conducting their analysis.

Conducting a validation survey

At a high level, the process is Define -> Design -> Implement -> Validate -> Optimise, however as is so often the case with work of this nature, the more time spent at the beginning of this process on Define, the less time gets spent on the subsequent stages.  Michael spent considerable time going through some of the key requirements that needed to be defined, to ensure wireless design was effective and fit for purpose. In order to support elements of Define, a number of wireless fundamentals were explored in detail, including the impact of clients on design, and how data rates are calculated

Data Rates and their relationship to SNR/RSSI

The event concluded with a brief discussion panel where we covered off some of the questions that we hear on a regular basis (such as do you recommend 1 ap per classroom, what’s the highest RF loss you’ve seen, and what are the key tools you use on a daily basis), giving our senior consultants David Moyle & Esteban Vidal an opportunity to talk to the crowd about their experience.  

The panel

The event was technical in nature, designed to ensure attendees were able to walk away with sufficient insight to be able to go and leverage some of the knowledge gained in their environments.

We gave away a few great prizes, including the highly coveted Ekahau Cap (our presenter had been after one for around 18 months!), and an Ascend ZERO-X Pro Drone . We maintain the drone could be used for capturing those outdoor aerial shots pre-survey, but it’s probably just as much fun to take it out for a spin in this beautiful Perth weather.

The drone prize

The feedback that we’ve had so far is that it was a useful session, and attendees appreciated the vendor-independent nature of our content. If you want to see us do more of these type of events in future, let us know and we’ll look into them for 2020.

We do want to thank the team at Tessco by Ventev for sending us over a few examples of custom AP enclosures and patch antenna options so that our attendees could visualise ways of meeting their design requirements. For a number of our attendees, their only exposure to date was vendor-made mounts and enclosures.