9 things to check after installing wireless access points

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Whether you’re upgrading equipment or building out a whole new Wi-Fi network, use this checklist to make sure everything’s shipshape before you let users connect.

After all the work of performing a Wi-Fi site survey, running cable to key locations in the building and hooking up your access points, you might be eager to quickly fill the airwaves. However, there are some things you should check just after powering on those new or upgraded APs and before letting users connect to them.

You can never be too careful when it comes to Wi-Fi security and performance, and you don't want to start off by ignoring them. That said, you can follow these tips at any time.

5 checklist Thinkstock

1. Verify that individual APs are operational

This may seem like a no-brainer, but when installing many APs you can easily overlook issues with individual devices. There is always the possibility of a wiring or configuration mistake that could prevent an AP from working correctly. These single-AP problems may not be so noticeable during general use of the network later on or even during a quick network check after you've installed all the APs, but they might come back to bite you much later, when it will be harder to diagnose the problem.

To avoid this, after plugging in each AP at its mounting location, make sure it powers up, its status lights indicate normal operation, and you get network and Internet connectivity through each individual one you install. Remember to look at the signal level of the AP on the device you're using to test the APs; ensure that you're connected to the correct AP, which should show perfect signal levels.

2. Check the VLANs of each SSID

If a network is configured with multiple virtual LANs and SSIDs, it is possible to misconfigure a setting on the router, switch or AP. For instance, even if you assign each SSID to a single VLAN, the VLAN tagging could be misconfigured, accidentally opening up private VLANs to a guest VLAN. Thus, while you're testing each AP to ensure that it's operational, consider going a step further by verifying that the VLANs are properly configured.

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