Access Point Installer Checklist

by | Aug 15, 2013 | Blog

Access Point Installer Checklist

Prior to installing any Access Point – you need to confirm and validate the wired side of the connection is prepared and configured properly. Trying to troubleshoot many of these wired-side issues are much more difficult after the AP is installed and any issue becomes the fault of the wireless network.

So save yourself headaches in the future – do the following tests BEFORE installing any Access Point. You’ll thank me later!

These tests can easily be taught to the cable-puller folks who can complete them and do the actual physical installation of the access points while they are on-site. Thus saving another truck roll just to mount an Access Point.

  1. Check cable meets/exceeds Cat5e or better specs. Confirm distance <100m (Cable tester)
  2. Confirm cable supports 1000Mb connection and configured for Full Duplex
  3. Confirm Power over Ethernet meets AP’s requirements. Check 802.3af or 802.3at requirements and AP’s PoE class needs.
  4. Confirm DHCP, DNS, IP Subnet Mask, Default Gateway are available and meet scope as designed.
  5. Document which Switch and which Port Access Point will be connected to. (Using LLDP protocol)
  6. Ping Default Gateway as given from DHCP process. Ping some server on far side of Default Gateway to confirm router is up.
  7. Test DNS to confirm target servers are resolving correctly.
  8. Confirm you can connect/ping to Controller, WNMS, etc. (might need to check if necessary ports are open)
  9. Confirm what VLANs are available via this port.  (Trunk or Access Port needed  – Centralized forwarding vs Distributed)
  10. Is Management VLAN assigned and available?
  11. Document AP’s MAC, Assigned Name, Location, Switch/Port used, IP Address received, etc.

Mount and connect Access Point

After Installation of Access Point

  1. Confirm Access Point has been installed in proper orientation, as designed, at proper location.
  2. Wait for AP to receive configuration from Controller/WNMS. (watch blinking light patterns)
  3. Listen in the air for all SSID’s to be broadcast and available. (even Hidden SSID’s broadcast beacons)
  4. Using a client connect and test each assigned SSID – including proper VLAN assignment and IP Address as designed.

I recommend to all my customers to use a Fluke LinkRunner AT for the pre-installation processes – it is small, fast, light-weight and easy for any installer to use.

For the post-install Wi-Fi over-the-air tests, I recommend a Fluke AirCheck hand-held Wi-Fi Scanner. For the same small, fast, light and easy reasons as the LinkRunner AT.

Yet you can do all of these tests with just a standard old laptop with an Ethernet port and a Wi-Fi NIC. (OK, you’ll need something to test the Cat5e specs… but other than that, your laptop with appropriate software and procedures will work)

I hope this helps alleviate some of the troubleshooting issues in your Wireless LANs.

Don’t worry, you’ll still have more than enough mis-placed blame on your Wireless LAN… don’t start down the path with mis-configured wire-side issues!