Not sure if your Wireless infrastructure is suitable for your needs? You’re not alone. It is difficult to plan for a wireless infrastructure without understanding all of the components that effect your wireless network. Noise, channelization, congestion, RSSI, security, dead spots, 2.4GHz versus 5GHz, and many other factors all play a role in how well your Wi-Fi network works on a consistent basis. A deep understanding of how these components interact with each other, as well as the right tools go far when optimizing your Wi-Fi signal. That’s where a wireless site survey comes in. A wireless site survey includes multiple tests and strategies to optimize your wireless network. Some of these tests are outlined below.
Proper channelization is vital to properly configure your wireless network. There are two major ranges that Wi-Fi access points utilize today; the 2.4GHz spectrum and the 5GHz spectrum. The 2.4GHz spectrum in reality is only 100 MHz wide and contains 11 separate channels, each referred to as the channel numbers 1 through 11. Each channel in the 2.4GHz spectrum is actually 20 MHz wide, which means that each channel overlaps with several other channels. The channels that do not overlap are channels 1, 6, and 11. This means that those are the optimized channels to use so that there is no overlap and fear of co-channel interference. Co-channel interference is where multiple devices are broadcasting within the same channel, thus causing each device to have to wait a length of time for its turn to talk, creating interference for all devices. The 5 GHz spectrum is much larger than the 2.4 GHz spectrum, allowing for many more options to channelize your network. The problem, however, with the 5 GHz spectrum is that it is rather new and only some of the most modern devices are able to connect to a 5 GHz channel. The other issue is that due to the increased frequency over 2.4 GHz, the total coverage area is decreased dramatically, requiring more access points to cover the same range as a 2.4 GHz network. Omega Technology Group has vast experience with properly setting the best strategy for channelization for your wireless infrastructure.
Imagine being in a restaurant with another person with no one else in the restaurant. You can have a very pleasant conversation with them at normal levels while you discuss the activities of your day. Now imagine the restaurant when it is completely full and having a great time. The noise from all of the other patrons talking makes it much harder for you to have a conversation with your guest, you must talk louder and may even need to wait until some of the chatter in the room quiets down before you can continue your conversation. This same scenario happens when there are too many devices talking at the same frequency on a Wi-Fi network. Too many devices trying to talk at the same time at the same frequency make it difficult to transmit data at an acceptable rate. It is also not only devices on Wi-Fi that can affect this frequency of radio signals. Many other types of electrical equipment such as microwave ovens and even some fluorescent lights have been known to interfere with Wi-Fi signals. A proper wireless site survey will not only help detect noise levels on a specific frequency, but will also help detect outside components that interfere with Wi-Fi signal. Omega Technology Group utilizes a tool that records all information found on the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz spectrums to determine the amount and source of noise on any given channel.
A common misconception about Wi-Fi network implementations is that the more access points broadcasting the signal, the better off you will be and the quicker the overall network will be. This mentality is actually the opposite for many reasons. One reason is that many devices connected to a Wi-Fi network will constantly be checking for the strongest signal strength that they can find. This will cause the device to repeatedly switch between each access point as the signal level is frequently reassessed and another is found to have a stronger signal. This can interfere with network sensitive applications, such as VoIP. Another problem with congestion is that it can make proper channelization extremely difficult to achieve, as an overly congested Wi-Fi network will very commonly cause access points to overlap with other access points on the same channel. A common tool used to combat Wi-Fi congestion is a heat map of the area in question. A heat map will show very precise locations where the Wi-Fi signal is strong, weak, overlapping, and where interference occurs.
These are only a few of the common issues you will face when you implement or try to optimize your Wi-Fi network. Omega Technology Group uses best practices and many tools and strategies to design and optimize your Wi-Fi network. Please feel free to reach out to us by phone at 800-818-8488 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by filling out the form below.
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