*And What You Can Do To Fix The Problem with Wi-Fi
1. Dueling Wi-Fi Access Points
First, the Wi-Fi signals from access points can interfere with each other when configured improperly. Access points set up utilizing auto-configuration settings sometimes face this issue. Additionally, signal interference can occur when access points are positioned too close to each other. A properly designed wireless network will not cause interference with itself. When setting up your network, ensure the deployment team understands the variables causing self-destructive interference.
2. Competing Frequencies in Adjacent Buildings
Wi-Fi does not recognize walls unless they are made of water or metal. This means a network could be experiencing interference from an outlying office or an access point you’re unaware of. Come to a peaceful resolution with your suite neighbors, or talk to the property manager about having other office tenants change settings to coexist with yours. If this isn’t an option, seek an expert who can configure your network to best operate within existing conditions. For all parties involved the result is typically positive.
3. Land and Structural Topography
When considering access to an outdoor Wi-Fi network, be mindful of environmental factors like foliage and topography. While setting up an outdoor network, things such as water in leaves negatively impact the signal. Bottom line: don’t forget to consider any and all natural obstacles.
4. Presence of Water
Concentrated bodies of water can absorb RF (Radio Frequency) signals, making water a radio frequency killer. It is important to know where concentrations of water run throughout the office (even if they’re obscured by drywall or drop ceilings). Think small conduits and pipes throughout the office as well as larger water supply closets or boiler rooms. This is especially important if you’re deploying a Wi-Fi network in an outdoor environment. Remember: even plants and soil that contain water may interfere with Wi-Fi connectivity strength.
5. Signal Quality
Just because you have a strong signal doesn’t make it a quality signal: if wireless performance is not operating as intended, any number of factors could be affecting your network’s signal quality. Solutions may include new configurations or rearranging access points, but it is best to run the proper tests to ensure you have identified the source of the problem. Getting good Wi-Fi access at every corner of the office can be challenging, but almost always doable.
6. Room Height
Ideal placement for wireless access points or antennas is under 35 feet from the ground. Tall ceilings pose a problem. When setting up Wi-Fi in a room with exceedingly tall ceilings (like a large office lobby), find alternate areas to mount access points (if possible) or opt for a more specialized antenna, like a directional antenna.
7. Design for Capacity
Improper planning for the number of simultaneous users and devices in a given area can decrease connectivity. Plan with capacity in mind rather than coverage, by estimating the projected number of users and then determine how many users will be using that Wi-Fi infrastructure at a given time. There is no one magic number of potential Wi-Fi users because each environment is different. Wi-Fi deployment expertise is often required in these calculations, especially when setting up a Wi-Fi network in a large complex office environment.
8. Competing Frequencies in One Room or Office
Devices running on different frequencies compete with Wi-Fi signals in close quarters, and therefore diminish connectivity. To combat this: plan for the co-existence of multiple frequencies from microwaves, Bluetooth, or wireless cameras. If frequency issues arise after the design process, ask a professional about completing a tune-up on your network.
9. Signal Type
It’s crucial to consider signal type for good wireless access. 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi signals are less susceptible to attenuation, or the loss of power as a waves move through walls or even the air. But a 5GHz signal packs more data punch, better accommodating activities such as video streaming. Carefully evaluate which signal best accommodates your business’s Wi-Fi usage and your physical structure. Most companies today are looking for the higher capacity of the 5GHz signal, which may mean deploying a greater number of access points to limit attenuation.
10. Reflective Surfaces
Reflection, refraction, and diffraction impact radio waves. Be aware of surface types during the wireless network design and implementation process. Surface type either positively or adversely impacts coverage. For instance, reflection, stemming from a room full of stainless steel fixtures, benefits Wi-Fi signals. Refraction, resulting from the presence of a metal pole, diminishes wireless connectivity.
Teoma Systems’s team of engineers has over 10 years experience in the successful design and implementation of wireless AP’s into office spaces. We are a Ruckus preferred partner. Ruckus Wi-Fi is a pioneer in the wireless infrastructure market, enabling carriers and enterprises to stay ahead of the exploding demand for high-bandwidth applications and services. The Ruckus Smart Wi-Fi technology redefines what’s possible in wireless network performance with flexibility, reliability, and affordability. To find out more about Wi-Fi delivered through Ruckus or other Ruckus Wireless products, contact us today for a free consultation for your business.