- Director of Connectivity
Wireless Network Installation Considerations in Toronto & Surrounding Area
Updated: Nov 7, 2019
Expectations for various wireless services in Toronto and surrounding areas continue to evolve at a rate that is making it challenging for some businesses to keep up.
IT Managers & Directors are continually tasked with finding the best solutions for there business. Smart phones and tablet technology have forever changed the way we interact with the internet, making connectivity paramount in almost all facets of our lives.
If you may be suffering from poor wireless coverage from an existing WIFI solution that needs upgrading or optimizing, or from your cellular service provider, let's first help you understand the issues that you may need to overcome.
WiFi Coverage Challenges
In years past, and currently in some instances, many companies that have deployed WIFI solutions within their respective facilities, without a suitable design survey tool such Air Magnet. A tool such as this uses software that enables businesses to get a proper pre solution passive survey completed to understand the environment and how any wireless manufacturer's hardware will perform following deployment.
The key factors that affect the solution performance may include building construction materials, user devices on the network, warehouse inventory, or even poor design. Some other factors include:
Inadequate number of access points to accommodate the user base and/or the bandwidth they require to use their devices. This results in a network with overloaded capacity.
Poorly located access points that may be hidden in plenum ceiling space or behind structural impedances to optimal signal propagation.
Legacy equipment that may be more than 5-7 years old that cannot manage the network traffic and load that users are placing on it.
The ongoing introduction of new technologies, devices, and apps inclusive of VOIP, warehousing equipment (barcode scanners), or security video cameras.
A solution that wasn't deployed using a proper design tool to understand specific needs and future proofing.
Networks need to be designed and installed with all of the above factors considered prior to deployment.
Cellular Coverage Challenges
Cellular coverage presents some similar challenges to WIFI, with the main considerations being the service provider macro/tower locations, customer proximity to the macro/tower sites, and service provider capacity in specific locations. Other factors could also be the issue of construction and licensed frequency bands. Metal, concrete, and even some glass can inhibit good signal penetration and propagation within parts or all of any facility. This especially applies to older construction and healthcare facilities that use very dense construction materials. For frequencies, the service providers often use some frequency bands (higher) that may not penetrate well inside of certain building structures.
In many areas, lower frequency bands are not necessarily a guarantee of coverage. This is especially prevalent in larger areas such and downtown Toronto or other major Canadian cities. There are a very large number of cellular macro sites (roof top or towers) to service the densely populated business user base in these areas. While the service may be seen as quite good as a device may indicate with 4-5 bars of service, users in the area may still have challenges due to "hand-off" of service between macro sites because of the large number of them. In this case, devices are fighting to find the best serving site, which causes lost connections and dropped calls. A corrective measure such as the installation of a coverage enhancement solution can address the issue by potentially isolating a specific donor site to eliminate the handoff problem.
Lastly, the distance from a macro serving site is can be a challenge in remote areas. In some cases, companies will make a switch from Telus to Rogers or vice versa, without verifying coverage first. The result can be finding out the hard way that the customer's service is spotty due to servicing macros in the area or surrounding structures blocking signal penetration.
If you are considering changing your service provider, AirWorx Wireless offers a "service provider signal evaluation" for companies to ensure a your wireless investment in a new service provider is a good one.
How will coverage footprints for WiFi and Cellular evolve?
As we see in more and more locations, WIFI is expected to not only be offered, but folks don't expect to pay for it. The current generation of 20 somethings expect service anywhere, because they were raised being connected. We are already beginning to see a shift in new demographics for facilities and venues and a good example is outdoor wifi.
Enhancement of cellular service coverage is a is much larger investment than that of WIFI. Therefore, many companies will avoid addressing the issue unless they can push their respective service provider to pay for it. And being cellular frequencies are licensed, and WIFI is not, technology and carrier approvals are required to "turn up" any solution rebroadcasting network providers services. For any solution of this nature, the service provider's RF Engineering team will require being consulted for technical input to ensure design and performance expectations are met.
And what direction then will the coverage trend lean towards? Many environments in the Toronto and surrounding areas may continue to improve as long as coverage expectations continue to grow. The more that you make the decision makers at your business aware of current technologies, trends, and expectations, the more prepared you'll be for implementing your your next wireless solution.
AirWorx Wireless will continue to stay updated on the latest news and trends in the wireless industry, and we’ll continue to publish this information in the "NewWorx" section of our website. We are here to assist you so please let us no how we can help by call us at 647-926-2673 or emailing at firstname.lastname@example.org. We look forward to working with you.