Planning building works can be a real challenge, no matter the size of the project. There are so many things to consider, it’s all too easy for the less obvious items to be missed. WiFi is often one of those. Here are our top three WiFi installation mistakes made by customers who have recently completed building works.
Mistake 1: What’s WiFi got to do with building?
One of the biggest WiFi installation mistakes is also one of the most common we see on a day-to-day basis. That is, that people just don’t think about WiFi when they’re having building work done.
This probably isn’t a surprise.
Most people think of WiFi as wireless tech, so why would they need to consider wiring? But for really robust WiFi, a wired network is required. Installing wireless access points, connected to your network via CAT6 ethernet cable, delivers the best WiFi experience for most types of wireless installations. This applies to both business and residential properties.
And it’s not just WiFi that benefits from a robust wired network. It also makes sense for future-proofing as more and more devices become internet-enabled. From office equipment to household appliances, our appetite for smart tech is insatiable. And in the case of most non-mobile devices (e.g. TV, photocopier, printer) it makes more sense to connect to the network permanently via an ethernet cable. The wireless network should be reserved for truly mobile devices like tablets, laptops and phones.
Developers are starting to recognise this. It’s now becoming more common to see network cabling as an option in new builds, for example. However it isn’t yet the standard. And doesn’t usually apply to renovation and extension projects.
In our experience, running cables becomes much more difficult after you’ve laid your beautiful new oak flooring!
Avoid this mistake by asking your builder, architect or developer what provisions they have in place for network cabling. Make sure you have the discussion up-front as part of the planning process and before any work starts. Even if you’re only having an electrical re-wire, it’s the perfect time to install a wired network at the same time.
Mistake 2: Fail to plan, plan to fail
Once you’ve established network cabling as a requirement for your building work, the next of our WiFi installation mistakes tends to come into play.
Put simply, it’s poor (or no) planning.
Cables in the wrong place or too close to electricity cables. Insufficient network points in inconvenient positions. These can result in an unusable network which is costly to fix once the work is complete.
To avoid this mistake, here are a few things to ask your contractor:
- Are they using the latest CAT6 ethernet cable? CAT5 may be cheaper but is also older tech, so much less future-proof.
- Can you spec at least one, and ideally two, network points in each room? Some rooms may even require more.
- Will all cabling terminate in a central location (e.g. utility room or under-stairs cupboard) for ease of management and tidiness?
- Will the cabling be installed by a networking specialist?
Mistake 3: Forgetting the breadcrumb trail
Planning is great, but if the plan is poorly executed it can undo a great deal of hard work. The last of our WiFi installation mistakes is a particular bugbear!
The network cabling is in, with network points in the right places and all terminating in one place. But none of the terminations are labelled. All the network cables have been left hanging out of the wall in an untidy and disorganised mess.
This means you have no idea which termination belongs to which network point in which room! Working it all out can be a time-consuming and potentially costly exercise.
Avoid this mistake by ensuring that whoever is installing the network cabling is a specialist. A networking specialist should always ensure that everything is correctly labelled. A patch panel should also be installed to avoid cables being left hanging out of the wall. This also makes life easier when connecting devices to the network.
Avoiding WiFi installation mistakes – help with wireless network planning
Proper wireless network planning and installation can save you a great deal of time, money and hassle later on.
If you’re in the Bristol and Bath area and planning building work, contact us for WiFi help and advice. We can help with the initial planning, right through to installation and configuration of your wireless network.