How Many Access Points Do I Need? Estimate the right number of devices for your network

How Many Access Points Do I Need - Estimate the Right Number of Access Points

How many access points do I need? How to estimate the right number of devices for professional networks

How many access points do I need? A common question in professional network deployment. Estimating the number of access points for different environments is crucial: especially in structures with large areas and requiring large numbers of devices, calculating the wrong number can lead to unexpectedly high costs and a feeling of dissatisfaction when buying unnecessary APs. Conversely, when you want to save too much money, you risk underestimating the number of devices and not buying enough access points for your business.

Tanaza has defined the most important factors to consider and how to estimate the number of access points required.

What factors to consider when estimating the number of access points?

  1. Check floor plan of the environment;
  2. Identify the types of walls;
  3. Evaluate the number of contemporary users;
  4. Calculate the Capacity/Throughput per user/application.

Check floor plan of the environment

The building plan is often a factor that is taken for granted when estimating the number of devices to be purchased. Modern buildings can have different floor plans: L, H, or T.

In this scenario, the geometry of the plan itself influences coverage. In these cases, devices can not be placed in a position that will be central to all users, without the signal crossing several external or internal walls.

Follow this basic networking rules:

  • L-shape – estimate more square feet than 2;
  • T-shape – estimate more square feet than 3;
  • H-shape – multiply the estimated square footage by 4.
How to Calculate the Number of WiFi Access Points

Identify the types of walls

Intuitively, concrete, brick, and reinforced concrete walls have a high magnetic permeability index. In this case, the number of devices required for efficient WiFi signal propagation is higher.
Concrete, with or without reinforcement, has a high attenuation level and represents a significant obstacle between the access point and the client device. The loss of decibels of the WiFi signal increases as the frequency increases.

In the table, below you can see the signal losses by frequency and material. The table is based on calculations and experiments carried out by the US National Institute of Standards and Technology.

Materials 2.4GHz (dBm) 5GHz (dBm)
Reinforced Concrete 22.792 44.769
Concrete Brick 4.295 7.799
Plasterboard Wall 5.388 10.114
Chipboard Wall 0.463 0.838

For example, using the concrete heavy example in the table above and imagine there is a concrete heavy wall between the AP and the client: at 2.4 GHz, the transmission loss is ~23 dB- meaning that as the signal goes through the wall it is decreasing by that amount of attenuation. Now if the operating frequency is changed to 5 GHz, the transmission loss is going to be higher because the frequency is higher – so in this case it goes to ~45 dB.

Estimating the number of access points, it is fundamental to consider the technical characteristics and configurations of the devices, including bandwidth, signal strength, and range. For networks that require large numbers of devices, a platform like Tanaza is essential for comprehensive remote management. The platform allows the signal status to be monitored 24/7, with the ability to modify the necessary settings for each access point in bulk.

Number of contemporary users

The number of contemporary users is a parameter for estimating access points that should only be considered in areas with a large number of users such as schools, theatres, auditoriums, hotels, universities, and sports centers.

Imagine a traditional football stadium with a capacity of 50000 people for a summer concert. The size of the rectangular area is 650 feet x 750 feet. To obtain the number of access points required, you need to calculate:

TOTAL ENVIRONMENT AREA / MAXIMUM COVERAGE AREA OF THE DEVICE

At this point, we consider the number of connected users. With the stadium at max capacity, let’s assume that only 50% of the spectators have connected to the WiFi network: 25000 spectators. Of these, 10,000 are using it together to share the most exciting moments of the event. Once you have performed the above calculation to determine the number of access points needed, you can divide the number of users / the number of APs to quantify the number of access points per device.

Calculate the Capacity/Throughput per user/application.

Another method to estimate the number of access points needed is to calculate the capacity requirements. We have already talked about this topic in a previous article: click here to read.

For a quick review, consider 4 basic formulas:

  • AP Throughput divided by User Throughput = Users per AP
  • Users per AP divided by active users = Usable users per AP
  • Usable Users per AP divided by Adoption Rate = Service Area/Cell Size
  • Capacity divided by service area = AP count
Once the number of access points has been estimated, it is worth considering a WiFi cloud platform that allows the remote management of all devices. With Tanaza you can monitor the WiFi data of the access points remotely.
Available statistics include:

  • data received and sent by the network in real-time;
  • the status of the access points in real-time;
  • historical statistics on possible disconnections;
  • RAM/CPU load percentage in real-time;
  • blocked packets and error rate;
  • the number of connected clients and the aggregate upload and download speed.

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What is WiFi Network Management Software?

WiFi Network Management Software

What is WiFi Network Management Software?

WiFi network management software has become a necessity as it offers an automated way to monitor and analyze WiFi Access points, network traffic, and client devices. Businesses rely a lot on WiFi to ensure wireless, remote access so that all devices remain connected to the internet.

The network management software serves as the solution, consisting of monitoring devices that create and use the wifi network, analyzing their traffic, and troubleshooting slowdowns that impact the end-user experience. The primary aim of a wifi network management solution is to avoid downtime by preventing rogue devices from accessing the network. Specially in terms of large-scale and dynamic business networks, WiFi management is quite important.

The network management software collects information about the network devices using specific protocols such as SNMP, ICMP, CDP etc to then present this information to the network administrators in a resolved way to help them identify the issue at the fastest time possible and troubleshoot any problems. When many devices connect to a particular network simultaneously, the reliable network uptime guarantee is liable to differ. It depends on many factors including location, access point, network design and configuration.

A WiFi management tool helps to synthesize data effectively. These platforms are configured to track key performance metrics of the network and provide in-depth, critical device details, including current node status, average response time, packet loss, and device information.

Why do you need a Network Management Software for Your Business?

It is important to have a WiFi management software to ensure your network’s stability and reliability and global overview of every single end point. Every network needs a monitoring software that can detect promptly issues to avoid slowdowns that eventually impact the end-user experience.

If a signal gets dropped or there is no connectivity in a particular area, it will hamper the work. An effective network management solution incorporates advanced monitoring technology to help IT admins navigate the complicated and evolving networking landscape. Every wireless device, network application, and even the physical landscape leave their mark on the network, or we can say formerly it affects the network.

If your company has a wireless network, this does not mean that it’s enough to run a small or large business smoothly. It is the responsibility of the IT admins to manage and monitor the networks and the IT infrastructure. Wifi connectivity is liable to deflect depending on several factors. Sometimes when we experience extreme lag or network downtime, we feel frustrated because almost all our work depends on how efficiently our network performs. It’s up to the IT administrator to reach the roots of the problem and resolve WiFi related issues. Hence, a network monitoring software is very useful as it helps IT admins to troubleshoot any potential issue with the network.

A network management software can identify multiple issues within the network and the access points that broadcast the signal. The software gathers and displays robust insights into each category of the network, so IT teams can get to the root of the poor performance before the network and your business comes to a grinding halt. WiFi monitoring tools help detect, diagnose and resolve the most common issues while dropping in the network. If you are facing any of the following issues in context to your wifi network such as:

  • Poor or slow connection speed;
  • Weak signal strength;
  • Mismanaged network capacity;
  • Compromised Network Security.

5 Key Benefits of an All-In-One WiFi Network Management Software

There are many Network Management solutions available in the market, but among them, choosing the one with all the perks is quite a task. Let us discuss the five key benefits of having an all-in-one WiFi Management platform:


  1. Faster and Simplified Network Management
  2. Reduce Operating Costs of WiFi Networks
  3. On-Demand Scalability for MSPs
  4. Full remote network recovery with easy backups and real-time alerts

Faster and Simplified Network Management

It is of utmost importance to have software that simplifies network management and that enables teams to detect problems within the networks before they happen. It will provide an in-depth insight into the network by identifying the root source of the network issue that allows faster resolution times.

The primary benefit of having a single cloud-based platform is that it allows IT teams to monitor and manage thousands of networks and access points regardless of their location and vendor. If you wish to monitor your WiFi effectively, choose none other than Tanaza. It has a single cloud controller platform that effectively monitors your networks and the access points in your networks. It empowers the IT admins to monitor, detect, diagnose and troubleshoot any issue with the network and outages quickly and efficiently.

Tanaza’s Network Management software features centralized management capabilities. This feature lets IT teams set basic configurations of the network applied by default to all the cloud-managed access points in that network.

It also features zero touch provisioning of new access points for small or large-scale network deployments. Also, it helps IT teams to avoid installation errors, reduce costs, and lead time when deploying medium and large-scale networks.

The primary benefit is that configuration of devices can be done remotely and in bulk. It is done even before the deployment. Once all the devices are connected to a network, the platform detects them automatically. It also identifies the associated configuration.

Furthermore, being a user-friendly platform, it allows anyone to perform network deployments. Experienced IT admins can minimize the time needed as they would be able to configure the access points in advance and send the access points pre-configured only for installation. Also, they can enable push notifications to be received once the deployments happen and the units have been automatically configured.

Reduce Operating Costs of WiFi Networks

When you take the help of some platform with a multi-vendor approach, it is much easier to scale the networks as there is no vendor lock-in that constrains or limits MSPs to mix and match vendor access points. With time wifi networks require to scale putting pressure on the network infrastructure.

We all know that managing a complex ecosystem can be stressful and confusing. The more complex the network becomes, it becomes more expensive to operate as well as maintain. Businesses need to remember that closed software and hardware technologies can lead to huge OpEx, which might increase CapEx very quickly. By going with a multi-vendor SaaS approach, users would be able to easily manage the networks remotely, which will reduce the up-front costs and CapEx.

On-Demand Scalability for MSPs

A WiFi network management solution that allows mixing and matching hardware and integrating further with third-party software applications is optimal. Tanaza enables MSPs to scale according to their needs. Using the Tanaza platform, MSPs will pay only for what is needed and when it is needed. This is because of the flexible pricing packages per access point managed in the platform which can be monthly, annual, or every 3 or 5 years. MSPs can start managing a few devices and networks and expand accordingly based on their customers’ needs. Also, there are no extra costs for managing multiple networks or any cape on the number of devices. The license fee starts at $3.5 per device per month, which includes and covers everything.

Full remote network recovery with easy backups and real-time alerts

Though there are multiple network management software present in the market, Tanaza is the one platform that offers significant perks. It’s 100% cloud-based to monitor and troubleshoot networks remotely. Further, Network admins ensure that outages are corrected timely.

Other systems provide low-cost hybrid cloud solutions that have drawbacks that include hardware, enterprise-grade controllers and do not scale as cloud solutions. However, Tanaza provides all the advantages. It democratizes the benefits of the real-cloud solutions by making them available for any networking hardware –ranging from the most affordable to the most performing.

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5 Best Network Monitoring Software in 2021

Best Network Monitoring Software 2021

5 best network monitoring software in 2021

Choosing the best network monitoring software is a daunting task. As an MSP knowing the state and overall health of your clients’ networks is quite important as if you are unaware of it, you are headed for a disaster. With the technological advancements, there is an ample offer of network monitoring software in the market. 

These software have functionalities such as discovering devices, identifying network trends and traffic, graphically representing monitoring results, backing up network and device configurations, and primarily monitoring network equipment, servers, and applications. 

When it comes to choosing the right monitoring software to manage and operate your customers’ networks there are quite a few things you need to factor in like number of devices to manage, on premises or cloud deployments, co-managed IT, location of the deployment and of course budget. 

But before tapping into more details on how to choose the network monitoring software adapted to your needs, let’s agree on the basic terminology first, so we are all on the same page.

What is network monitoring software?

A Network Monitoring Software is designed to monitor and manage the network traffic flow over a network. This tool is used mainly by network administrators and security staff as they monitor network deployments. This software automates most of the network monitoring processes and workflows. 

So you might be wondering what exactly it does? Well, this software monitors the network’s uptime, availability, and response time. It can also monitor unusual activity and alert the network administrator when something suspicious or malicious is detected over the network. The network monitoring process can be for a physical/wireless LAN, WAN, or both. 

A network monitoring software provides information such as Active devices and equipment on a certain network and IP addressing schemes. It routinely reviews the network for availability and generates an alert and notification when a problem or issue occurs. For instance, it will alert you when an access point goes offline, or any suspicious packet is detected. 

Network monitoring must be proactive, which is a necessity and its most important aspect. It is a process in which all the networking components such as routers, switches, firewalls, servers, and VMs are monitored for fault and performance and evaluated continuously to maintain and optimize their availability.

How to choose the best network monitoring software?

Choosing the right network monitoring system makes all the difference in how accurately your customers’ digital infrastructure will work. The network monitoring tool is the most fundamental technology available for MSPs. With its wide range of capabilities and features on offer, you can select the best network monitoring software that will track network processes end to end. The tool ingests a vast array of performance metrics to discover, assess, optimize, and troubleshoot individual devices and keep cybersecurity threats at bay. Before selecting any monitoring software, it is essential to have a few things in consideration.

Firstly you need to check whether the network deployment is small, medium, or large. Usually, these tools are specifically designed for either small, medium, or large deployments. Also, depending on the type of deployment your customer wants: on-premise, hybrid or cloud-based. 

A lot of things matter while deploying a WiFi network and choosing an optimal monitoring tool. Generally, the small and medium businesses must select the tool that is easy to use and works with minimal configuration, so in the case of a co-managed infrastructure, both the MSP and the SMB can have peace of mind. 

The larger network deployments need a monitoring system that is more feature-rich and scalable. Businesses must have a dedicated team of professionals to manage the IT infrastructure to ensure its functionality. Hence, MSPs managing network deployments of any size should ensure that whatever tool they choose must include node and device inventorying, autodiscovery, automatic and configurable trouble alerts, warnings, and a web-based centralized management interface. 

Before selecting, it’s also recommended to understand your customer’s budget and see whether they would want high-performance or cost-effective devices to run the network. Thus, MSPs need to have a wide range of software tools within their portfolio to address each segment’s needs. For large network deployments, MSPs should opt for details over convenience, while small and medium deployments will want to prioritize user-friendliness. It is important to foresee that your customer’s network can potentially grow to choose a sustainable solution that can help you to help your customer scale when it’s needed.

An honest list of networking monitoring software

What are the best network monitoring software in 2021? Here you have a list of 5 useful tools for network management:

  • Manage Engine OPManager
  • PRTG (Paid Network Monitoring Solutions)
  • Tanaza
  • EventSentry
  • SpiceWorks

It is important to consider the amount of virtualization in your network while choosing a network monitoring tool. The network performance monitors differ in their ability to provide visibility within the virtualized environment. Before choosing software, it is important to find out which would be the best network monitoring software to handle the consistent and disruptive problems that your customer’s network will encounter. 

Manage Engine OPManager

OP Manager

One of the famous network monitoring tools, Manage Engine OPManager, monitors SNMP devices, switches, servers, and virtualized network services. It features over 200 customizable widgets to build unique dashboards and reports. For numerous alerting channels, this monitoring tool supports email, SMS, and webhook. It uses intelligent alerting to reduce false positives by eliminating alert fatigue across larger networks. The only disadvantage of this tool is that it is time-consuming to learn. Being a feature-rich tool, it requires time to go through all the aspects and configuration settings. Also, it integrates well in the ManageEngine ecosystem with its other products. This tool is best recommended for users that want a simple infrastructure monitoring tool.

PRTG (Paid Network Monitoring Solutions)

PRTG

The Paessler PRTG network monitoring tool is an integrated solution suitable for both small and enterprise environments. This monitoring software is more than just a server monitoring system. It is made to monitor any IT-related resources that connect to your network, including your firewalls, switches, servers, routers, databases, websites, and even USPs. 

This setup is dynamic, so its monitoring capabilities can grow or shrink with the business size or other requirements of your organization. This monitoring software is a windows program that can be installed on a server with shared access. PRTGs can also send email and SMS alerts based on your custom threshold levels so that network admins can get more frequent warnings from critical servers with shared access. 

This application can monitor everything you need to know about your servers, such as CPU load, hard disk capacity and performance, RAM utilization, and bandwidth monitoring. The primary benefit of this system is that it has a simple and clear user interface with functional elements conveniently located in in-built places. Some of the other key features of the system include multiple user interfaces to choose from, failover tolerant monitoring, and distributed monitoring. PRTG is free for 100 sensors, so it is considered great if you have a small network or are looking for a paid solution.

Tanaza

Best WiFi Monitoring Software 2021
Among all, Tanaza is an ideal solution for the best network monitoring software. It is considered best for MSPs serving small and medium businesses and enterprises or SMEs with in-house IT teams. We all know that businesses rely on networks for all operations. In today’s era, networks have to span globally, so network monitoring is crucial for any business. Being a subset of network management, a good network monitoring tool is required. Businesses are under quite pressure and need to manage affordable and straightforward IT infrastructure that works. Currently, the offers from famous network vendors such as Cisco Meraki, Ubiquiti or Aruba compel users to pay for expensive and non-flexible hardware. This hardware doesn’t allow other multi-vendor networking devices within the same network seamlessly due to lock-in constraints.

Tanaza’s operating system is the most reliable software as it delivers security layers that protect hardware from cyber attacks. Tanaza also delivers a scalable freemium model and a comprehensive marketplace that enables third-party software applications to offer added-value services for customers. It is the only single platform delivering world-class operational efficiency in IT operations. 

Tanaza allows you to manage remote access points, networks, and SSIDs. Furthermore, the zero-touch provisioning allows you to configure remotely any amount of devices and send them to the customer’s location only for installation. Once the device is ON it connects automatically to the platform and features all the configuration set up.

Tanaza has an intuitive interface and features multi-tenancy capabilities so you don’t have to share your credentials with any colleague. Each tenant can have their own and have different permission levels to the network. Furthermore, it’s the only software compatible with multi-vendor access points. MSPs can manage thousands of networks and access points in the cloud from different vendors from a single control plane. No other network monitoring software delivers the same.

In terms of monitoring and network management, Tanaza allows MSPs to have a global overview of all the networks, and detailed information about:

  • the number of client devices connected in real-time;
  • uplink and downlink data rates;
  • SSIDs in a network;
  • devices’ load;
  • bandwidth consumption for each access point;
  • list of channels used by each access point;
  • historical devices status;
  • map display and much more.

Tanaza provides liability to SMEs/SMBs to choose from the hardware of their choice. They can select among cost-effective enterprise gear by saving on CapEx and OpEx as they can reuse their existing networking infrastructure and scale their networks.

EventSentry

Event Sentry

EventSentry is an on-premise network monitoring software that is owned by NETIKUS.NET Ltd. It enables businesses to monitor their IP-based devices performances. The primary functionalities of this tool include monitoring server health and network performance by managing logs and compliances. 

It has a wide range of features such as heartbeat monitoring, SNMP, and Syslog monitoring. The only drawback of it is limiting false positives that become challenging at times. However, it is a good network monitoring tool that enables your business to comply with government and industry regulations such as HIPAA, PCL, and SOX.

SpiceWorks

Spice Works

It is one of the open-source network monitoring software that is known for its scalability and flexibility. It is a great solution for granular monitoring of memory, disk activity, and more. The primary benefit of using this tool is that it is quick and also easy to implement. It allows independent thresholds per system or device. SpiceWorks tracks infrastructure devices such as switches and routers for input/output rate, packets per second, and packet loss. Though this tool provides excellent monitoring, it does not support SNMP version 3. It means that it does not reconcile systems that are going down. Also, its user interface is comparatively slow.

Among the top 5 best network monitoring software, it is up to the requirements of network admins to choose according to their IT infrastructure and business size. Tanaza represents itself as a comprehensive, affordable and flexible SaaS platform for IT professionals to manage WiFi networks in the cloud. Being the only software in the market that works with multi-vendor networking hardware.

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Remote syslog – Track client device connections

Remote Syslog

Track client device connections through remote Syslog in Tanaza


Press play to listen to the article.

Nowadays, having a remote syslog feature within the WiFi network system is a must-have for Service Providers. The Tanaza software has the built-in capability of tracking the client device activities on the access points. When enabled, the messages and events stored in the access points can be exported to a remote Syslog server.

Remote Syslog

Tracking client devices’ connections in an Access Point

Some countries lawfully need to store TCP/UDP messages from access points and routers, for reporting purposes. Any given device generates information events in response to changing conditions, for example, like connections. Typically, these events are logged locally in the access points; however, monitoring and storing this data can slow down the device’s capability and, consequently, affect the network. 

Thanks to the Syslog feature, network administrators can forward this information to a remote Syslog server. Tanaza is rolling out an enhancement of the Syslog feature in the platform, which allows network administrators to track the client device connections in the access point.

Users can enable the remote Syslog server in the advanced settings of each access point. Alternatively, it can be enabled on all access points within a network, in one click on the Network-wide configuration. 

Afterward, every time a user connects or gets associated with an SSID, the MAC address and IP address are automatically registered in the logs.

With this feature the Syslog will show:

  • Date and timestamp (based on the time zone configured on the device)
  • Source local IP address 
  • Destination IP address
  • Source and destination ports
  • Source and destination MAC addresses

It is worth mentioning that this feature only allows users to send the log information from an access point to a remote server on the local Intranet or Internet by specifying an IP address. The data travels directly from the access point to the specified remote Syslog server. Tanaza users will rely on such platforms to retrieve any related information.

Read this article to learn how to set up your remote Syslog server on the Tanaza platform.

Syslog information now includes the client device IP address

When Services Providers, by law, need to keep track of IP address activity for every single device connected to a network, it’s predominant to have a feature within the network management system that allows sending this data to a Syslog server.

Tanaza has this capability embedded in the platform. Now network administrators can see, besides the client device’s MAC address and its activity, the IP address assigned to a client device and its activity when it connects to a Syslog-enabled WiFi network.

By enabling this feature, it’s possible to associate:

  • Device MAC address
  • Device local IP address
  • Public IP addresses visited
  • The specific time when it did happen

This enhanced feature allows Tanaza users to cross-link the information with the MAC address of the device that had the same IP address for a specific period.

While this feature is powerful, it involves a higher average load per each access point, as it would have to track every single connection of every client device connected at all times. Hence, users need to take into consideration that when enabling it, and use it wisely.

Still not using the Tanaza WiFi cloud management software?

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