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Dry goods: nine things to check after installing wireless access points

2019-06-05

Whether you're upgrading your device or building a brand new Wi-Fi network, use these checks to ensure that everything is in order before connecting users. After all the Wi-Fi on-site measurements have been completed, you may be anxious to fill in the radio waves by running the cables to an important location and establishing access points to connect with you. However, there are some things you should check before doing so. When it comes to Wi-Fi security and performance, you'll never be too careful, but you can't overlook it.


Wireless AP


1. Verify whether a single wireless access point can work properly
This may seem simple, but when installing many wireless access points, it's easy to overlook the problem of individual devices. Connection or configuration errors may occur to prevent the wireless access point from working properly. These problems of single wireless access points may not be obvious in the process of network use, or even in the process of rapid network checking. But in the future, they may attack you and be difficult to diagnose.
To avoid this situation, after inserting each wireless access point into the installation location, make sure that it is energized and the status indicator operates properly, and get the network and Internet connection through each wireless access point installed. Please remember to check the signal level of the wireless access point to ensure that it is connected to the correct wireless access point.

2. Check VLAN for each SSID
If the network is configured with multiple virtual local area networks and SSIDs, settings at routers, switches or wireless access points may be misconfigured. For example, even if each SSID is assigned to a single VLAN, the VLAN tag may be misconfigured to accidentally receive an unknown VLAN into a dedicated VLAN. Therefore, when you test each wireless access point to ensure that it runs properly, consider further verifying whether the VLAN is configured correctly.
After installing each wireless access point, connect to each SSID and ensure that the IP address of the specific VLAN is assigned to the end user device. To ensure that routing settings between VLANs are not inadvertently enabled, or firewall rules are misconfigured, any of which allows users to access other VLANs, operate between an end-user device on one VLAN and an end-user device on another VLAN.


Wireless AP

3. Check SSID carefully
To enable seamless roaming of devices connecting between wireless access points, you may have the same SSID set at each wireless access point. If you use wireless controllers to centrally manage all access points, SSID and other settings may be unified. But if you want to configure each AP manually alone, you are prone to errors. In this case, it is strongly recommended to double check SSID after inserting it into each access point. SSIDs are case sensitive, so make sure they are named exactly the same.

4. Verify wireless coverage
Even before installing AP, you have completed a Wi-Fi site check, and you should verify that the installed Wi-Fi coverage is visible everywhere. Just walk around with your cell phone or laptop and check the local wireless signal readings of the device in different locations.
To get more accurate readings, you can use free or inexpensive Wi-Fi analysis applications to view the signal levels in negative dBm values. Better yet, you can use professional map-based mapping tools to conduct a complete post-installation site survey so that you can see hot spots or other visual coverage, while collecting other important data, such as signal-to-noise ratio.

5. Check channel allocation carefully
Wi-Fi channel allocation is tricky because it has three available channels, especially in the crowded 2.4 GHz band. In some cases, such as when your neighbor's home or office uses Wi-Fi to interfere with your network, the automatic channel function becomes the preferred one. Despite the desire to enable automatic channel functionality at access points, I recommend double checking of automatic channels.
Whether you use an automatic channel or not, you should ensure that the wireless access point is set to the best channel. In the 2.4 GHz band, you should stick to channel 1, 6 and 11, because they are the only channels that do not overlap. You don't want the signal range of an access point to be set to the same or overlapping channel as another access point, whether it comes from your network or from your neighbors. The 5GHz band may also have overlapping channels, but more channels are available. You can use free or inexpensive applications on Android devices or laptops to check Wi-Fi channel usage.

6. Consider the physical security of wireless access points and networks
Security is more than just passwords. You can use the world's longest and most complex password on your Wi-Fi, but someone can physically access the network and bypass it in seconds. For example, they just need to insert a pen tip into the reset button to restore factory defaults, or they can insert their own APs with another password on an open network wall or switch port.
Ensure that wireless access points, lines and all other network components are kept away from the public. If you have a fake ceiling in your building, consider placing wireless access points on it rather than on the ceiling or walls. Make sure that other network components, such as routers, switches and wireless controllers, are stored in locked closets or rooms. You may also consider using a lockable network rack or cabinet.

7. Running speed test to evaluate performance
When connecting to each wireless access point and SSID, it is a good way to run some Internet speed tests on the download and upload speeds between the end user equipment and the Internet. This can help you validate any bandwidth restrictions imposed (such as visitor SSID), or you may find that you accidentally impose restrictions on private networks. You also need to run local speed tests to verify the performance of wireless networks. It is recommended that these local speed tests be run at each access point and on each SSID.

Application of wireless AP

8. Pay attention to the accurate location of wireless access points
After installing multiple wireless access points, be sure to label them, write down their location or mark them on a plan, and save them with other network documents. For places that are not in sight, such as ceilings, you can also take pictures of the location. This can avoid headaches in tracking access points, which can be very helpful to others if you are not around. Also remember to update the location change of the wireless access point at any time.

9. Ensure that administrator access rights are protected
Although changing the administrator password is one of the first things to do when initially configuring network devices, it will definitely be forgotten or ignored. You don't want a curious or unfriendly user to start the Web GUI and gain administrator privileges to access your wireless access point by searching for the default password online. After powering each access point, check again whether the default password is invalid and you have imposed a strong password.
In addition to changing the default password, you need to consider blocking access to the Web GUI of wireless access points and other network components from Wi-Fi after installation. Blocking the management interface from wireless users can help prevent curious users from even trying to access the device.
Some access points have settings specifically designed to control access to the management interface. For example, you can specify the IP address of the device that can access the Web GUI. This setting is usually in other management GUI management settings or VLAN settings, so you can enable administrator access rights for each VLAN separately. For wireless access points that do not provide such settings, check the router's documentation to see how to create firewall rules to prevent access to GUIs managed from certain subnets or VLANs.

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