Wireless Network Configuration

3-17-17-Wireless-network-configuration.pdf (8 downloads )
ABSTRACT:
RCare wireless network installation is a process that requires an understanding that we can’t predict RF conditions until we get the wireless network devices in place at the facility.  We provide free courtesy quotes based on best practices that may have to be adjusted during the installation.  It might also have to be adjusted post-installation as the RF environment changes.  These quotes are meant to be guidelines, not gospel.
TECH SUMMARY:
These declaimers about our quotes being educated estimates and not guarantees are included in the wireless network chapter, the ALP chapter, as well as every price list.  With the expansion of G4 and ALP it has become more common that configuring the wireless network will not be a simple plug and play operation.  Just because everything is checking in and you aren’t getting service alerts does not mean you have a healthy wireless network.  It is possible to complete and install with no service alerts that still have too few or too many locators.
Why too little is a problem
1) A common practice for Gen 3 was to limit the number of locators for better accuracy, but that is now a detriment to Gen 4 systems and should not be followed.  ALP and General Locating sort all available locators for an incident and narrows it to the closest 2 or 3 locators based on RSSI values (This is a new variable option in the wireless network chapter)
2) During the ALP process, we recommend tuning a facility to 3-5 locators for pendant presses. This number is important because the FM transmitter in the pendants cut through interference better than all the AM UT-3 transmitters.  If you’re getting 3-5 from the Gen 4 Pendant, you’re most likely only getting 2-3 to pick up the pullcord. If you are only getting 1-2 Locators for pendants, you might not be getting any for pullcords.
Why too much is a problem
1) Too many locators create system delays, which could cause locators that pick up the device to be missed.  In the image above you’ll see the option “Time to wait for locators” that is defaulted at 5 seconds.  Note:  DO NOT ADJUST THIS SETTING, YOU MAY BREAK THE CUBE.  The system doesn’t necessarily see the closest locators first and the furthest last; so, there’s potential for delays to cause the closest locator to be left out of the RSSI values reported for that incident.  There are some failsafe’s in place to prevent this, but this can throw away reliable data that General Locating and ALP require to make an accurate prediction.
 
CONCLUSION:
It should be assumed that wireless network configuration requires trial and error flexibility for every facility.  Gen 4 has made locating better and more reliable, with the caveat that the installers take the time to ensure its consistency.  This is very important to keep in mind for new construction buildings that expect our layouts to be perfect so that they can install power for these locators in very specific spots.  For the same reason it’s better to dress warm in the winter, it is better to plan for too many than too few so that installers can remove unnecessary devices rather than be stranded.