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.
- Check cable meets/exceeds Cat5e or better specs. Confirm distance <100m (Cable tester)
- Confirm cable supports 1000Mb connection and configured for Full Duplex
- Confirm Power over Ethernet meets AP’s requirements. Check 802.3af or 802.3at requirements and AP’s PoE class needs.
- Confirm DHCP, DNS, IP Subnet Mask, Default Gateway are available and meet scope as designed.
- Document which Switch and which Port Access Point will be connected to. (Using LLDP protocol)
- Ping Default Gateway as given from DHCP process. Ping some server on far side of Default Gateway to confirm router is up.
- Test DNS to confirm target servers are resolving correctly.
- Confirm you can connect/ping to Controller, WNMS, etc. (might need to check if necessary ports are open)
- Confirm what VLANs are available via this port. (Trunk or Access Port needed – Centralized forwarding vs Distributed)
- Is Management VLAN assigned and available?
- Document AP’s MAC, Assigned Name, Location, Switch/Port used, IP Address received, etc.
Mount and connect Access Point
After Installation of Access Point
- Confirm Access Point has been installed in proper orientation, as designed, at proper location.
- Wait for AP to receive configuration from Controller/WNMS. (watch blinking light patterns)
- Listen in the air for all SSID’s to be broadcast and available. (even Hidden SSID’s broadcast beacons)
- 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!