Answering a Wi-Fi Question with Analogies

How far can your AP reach?

It’s the Wi-Fi age-old question. In 10 conversations, it gets asked 11 times! As a Wi-Fi designer, how do you fare with such a question? It could be asked in variant forms like:

  • How strong is your AP?
  • How many meters can your AP cover?
  • How big is the AP radius?
  • How many/will one AP be strong enough to cover the whole X (where X is an area of an apartment, house, office, floor, stadium…etc)?

In all fairness, it’s not wrong to question how good a thing is before you opt for it. But to ask such a question is wrong because it’s an incomplete one.

Let’s be straight to the point here: in its simplest form, this is a Rate Vs. Range question. One proper version of the question to ask would be:

How far can your AP reach if I want 5mbps throughput over my iPhone8?

This question is a good start for coming up with an ROM estimate for an answer. I say an ROM because there are so many other factors that could affect the Rate Vs. Range performance question.

Giving examples and telling stories are a few of the best techniques to send a memorable and impactful message across. Let’s try to put in simple and real-life analogies that would help clarify the question pitfalls and answer it.

Analogy #1: Wi-Fi coverage is like bouncing a pebble across water.

Analogy #2: Even in a one-sided conversation, you still need a listener.

Analogy #3: A Prius and a Ferrari are racing on the highway, which car can speed the most?

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