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Blog Post

Mar 02

Access Point Naming Standards


Access Point Naming Standards

When we design and commission WLAN networks, one of the variables between different customers and sites is the access point naming convention.
 

Few useful pointers:

 

A well thought out naming convention isn't so important for sites with limited numbers of access points, but it does become more critical for larger installs. Take a site with thousands of access points for example - you need a hierarchical structure, that allows you to easily work out where APs are.

There's a few valuable tips we've developed from our installs, such as:

  • We normally always have the AP number at the end of the name for consistency
  • Some installs we've seen the inclusion of the characters 'AP' - for larger installs, reserve those two valuable characters for the location description

Example of a Bad Label

AP Numbers:

We develop a schema of numbers to be used throughout the facility to uniquely identify an AP. Note the 'unique' keyword in there.

I've seen some installations where they start each floor as AP0001 upwards and use the rest of the name to make the AP unique. It's very confusing as you get multiple AP001's occurring.

When laying out a new numbering schema, allocate numbers in a logical way - per building and per floor, just as you would subnet the VLANs. Make sure you allocate spare as this allows you to add any APs later on and fit in the schema.

The benefit of this approach is that you can now identify the AP just based on its number. Even for a large facility, you might end up with just a four digit number. Do yourself a favour and apply a sticker to the front of the AP (in large enough text to be easily viewed) and you have a really easy technique for people to be able to report which AP is faulty, or the relative location of where they were when an issue was noted.

 

AP Naming - include the useful information:

Typically we use a schema such as:

LLL-BBB-FF-0000

It's a nice short name with the ability to number up to 9,999 APs uniquely on one floor. Upper or lower case is your choice, but upper generally looks good. The fields can be split as:

  • LLL - Site location - three letter designation of the site name
  • BBB - Building number or acronym for the building
  • FF - Floor or level - for example can be B0 for basement or 05 for level five
  • 0000 - Unique number for this AP. You can shorten to 2 or 3 digits for smaller sites.

    Example of a Good Label

Don't forget to allocate the numbers in blocks though for each building and floor!

For example, if we were to name an Access Point in IPTel's main building on ground level and it was the first access point. We would shorten the name to IPT, then the building acronym could be MBD for main building. Ground level we detail as 00 and since it is the first AP it would be 0001.

Giving us the AP Name of IPT-MBD-00-0001.

 

As you can see on the image above, it only has 4 numbers on it, rather then the AP naming schema that has previously been discussed. This is because if you are on site, you do not need to know the other information, you will know where you are and if you are reporting a fault in the access point, it becomes easier to identify the APs name as you know its number and the engineer who is fixing it will be able to find it just by that.

AP Naming: Conclusion

If an access point has a generic name, there will be problems with consistency across multiple access points or multiple levels.

By using a schema such as the one that was suggested above, it eliminates problems that could be caused by having inconsistent or non-descriptive access point names. Leaving plenty of room for additional APs along with easy ways to know where an AP would be on the site allows for the engineers to do their job easier while also allowing for the customer to have an easy way of reporting problems.

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