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How to determine AP area coverage?

Shams Rishad
Level 1
Level 1

Hello partners


I've been looking for a guideline to determine the number of APs I need when I design a solution. I seem to find no specific area about this on the datasheets of APs. Right now I use empirical methods but I was just wondering is there a definite way to determine the number of APs required from only the datasheet (i.e. gain, strength, radio pattern, etc.)


We can consider free space for this assumption, as for brick, glass, and any other materials the answer will vary drastically.




4 Replies 4



 - Nothing can replace required site survey for good end result , because of additional  physical and environmental parameters.


-- ' 'Good body every evening' ' this sentence was once spotted on a logo at the entrance of a Weight Watchers Club !

Sandeep Choudhary
VIP Alumni
VIP Alumni



Have a site survey done as that will only be the way to really know how many and where to place them.

Site survey needs to take in consideration many factors including (but not limited to):

1. Number of users per access point.

2. Data rates needed for users.

3. Services use (data, voice....etc).



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Shams Rishad
Level 1
Level 1

Hi @marce1000 @Sandeep Choudhary 

Well, we can consider "open/free space" for this assumption. Is there any guideline for that? How does one design?


Also, consider scenario 2, where there are brick walls or other elements (only to be understood from a site survey). In this case, what are the guidelines to be followed? Is there a definite guideline as to how to determine AP model and quantity to cover an area?


I understand that there are so many other factors as well, makes it hard to give an answer as it varies widely. But then how to design a solution after site survey?



There is a difference when you try a predictive survey versus a true onsite survey. When it comes to a predictive, there are tools like Ekahau and AirMagnet that one can use that helps. They help because you import a CAD drawing with wall types, etc. which helps with placements depending on the ap and antenna used. Now I will tell you that predictive is not 100%, so its also your experience you have surveying in different environments that allows you to use your experience to also determine where and how many ap's you should have. There is no more.... how much coverage does an ap provide. To me, that is very old school and all you are looking at is how far can an ap signal go without looking at providing the best signal, roaming performance, density and proper overlap. You will never find the answer unless you do the test yourself. Get an ap and configure it how you want it to be deployed as far as channel width, and tx power and use a laptop, mobile device, other devices to determine the answer you are looking for. Every device has its own tx power and antenna gain that affects what the signal is at a given area depending on the device.
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