3 Common Wi-Fi Problems and How to Avoid Them
Designing a Wireless Network Infrastructure is a delicate and intensive process that can make or break you Wi-Fi performance. SecurEdge takes a holistic approach to network design, ensuring that you are getting a custom design with the proper tools and resources to manage and monitor your network.
Here are some common Wireless Network Design mistakes that may be impacting your network performance.
If you have forged into the brave world of wireless design alone (or without the counsel of a trusted wireless network design specialist) then when time comes to deploy and access your network, you may find things don't go as planned.
Hardware and security are the foundation of your network, so if you're not employing the right products you aren't going to get the results you need. Here are some product-based mistakes that can be affecting your network:
Too many access points
Deciding how many Access Points (AP's) to purchase for your space may not seem that difficult, but if miscalculated, can have major implications for your wireless network. It is very common for consumers to purchase too many AP's, and what's the harm in that you ask? Too many access points can bottleneck your wireless network, also known as co-channel interference. Imagine you have a building with 20 rooms, each one with an access point, all tuned to the same frequency. AP's are intelligent, and when they are in close range to one another and operating on the same channel, they send messages to one another to tone down their signal strength. So essentially, you would have 20 AP's all under-performing and 20 rooms of disgruntled employees waiting impatiently for their Facebook pages to load. What's worse, is now you have a lot of expensive hardware you don't need, a costly mistake that could have been prevented with the proper network designs.
Not enough access points
While over-estimating your need for AP's can be disastrous, underestimating can be just as detrimental to the success of your wireless network. In the same scenario above, having a 20-room building with a lot of walls and doors means your wireless signal is going to face a lot of barriers in route to your device. Not installing enough access points can result in dead zones in your office, where the signal simply can't reach. You will also need to consider the number of devices that your network will need to support when determining your access point needs.
If your 20-room space is a clinic or hospital, you will have dozens of important machines relying on the network to perform, not to mention the computers and personal devices of the staff and patients. In an office or education environment, signal strengths and APs need to accommodate the needs of multiple personal devices per person, a tall order for an under-designed wireless network. Having an accurate design and estimate of your network needs can help you determine exactly how many access points you will need
and avoid these mistakes.
While outfitting your space with the right type of access points and installing them properly are a major component of wireless network design, you will also need to consider Controllers and which variety best suits your need. Like access points, controllers come in a few different options and can have serious implications for the success of your wireless network. Nowadays, many APs have built-in controller capabilities, which can save time and a lot of cash. When installing your access points, the first AP will automatically function as the Controller, and if thatone goes down for any reason, the next in line will take over controlling capabilities. This is a great feature and can be the best option for a lot of building types, so be sure to check with a wireless network designer before you fork out cash on an expensive controller that you may not need.
Cloud-based controller-less access points eliminate the need for controller hardware and can monitor your network from your cloud. This can be a tech savvy and time-saving option for those looking to manage their wireless network and don't necessarily need the added power and security of an on-site controller.
While these are both great options for many, some spaces, particularly outdoor and multi-level large-scale buildings, are going to require an on-site controller. Proper installation and programming of these devices is critical, so you should always partner with an industry expert when it comes to controllers. Failure to do so could have severe consequences and leave you vulnerable to data hacking.
You've collaborated with the engineers, forked over your floor plans, and received a shipment of the latest hardware ready for installation. This is a critical moment in your design process; Who do you trust to install the network you've so carefully designed?
Mounting your Access Points
Access Points come in many different flavors. Indoor and outdoor, internal or external antennae, controller-based and controller-less etc. If you have ceiling mounts for instance, these are designed to send signals outward away from the base like a sprinkler system. If you were to place these AP's on the wall, however, you aren't going to get the same range of coverage and may experience network performance issues.
In the case of an AP with external antennae, it's important to consider where you need coverage when deciding where to mount the AP. If you are covering your office or a classroom, you would want to make sure the access point is level with the devices that will be connecting to the internet. If placed too high or too low, you will not receive the maximum signal and likely encounter connectivity issues. Additionally, covering an access point can affect capacity. Your access point may not be the focal point you wished to create, but its doing an important job, so don't be afraid to display it!
In fact, any access point mounted too high, regardless of its antennae, can result in poor wireless connection. If you have a large warehouse, it may seem logical to get ceiling mounts or place your access points high up to get the most coverage, but in fact you are increasing the distance that the wireless signal has to travel to reach your device and therefore decreasing your connectivity strength. At SecurEdge, our wireless network designers can help you determine what the best solutions are for you and your space.
No Wi-Fi Planning
While the design and deployment of your network services are essentially your bread and butter, you'll need more than that to ensure that everything runs smoothly.
Wi-Fi Planning can make sure you are optimizing your system's out-put and getting the fastest, most reliable and secure WiFi possible. There are a few things to consider when strategizing your wireless network:
Access Points emit signals on a channel similar to a radio station. For your network to work properly, you must be careful to tune your APs to the right channels. Having too many access points on the same channel can cause interference and ultimately dim the output of your wireless signal.
Not Segmenting Traffic
Role-based access control can be helpful in several ways and should always be a part of your network design strategy. In addition to creating a more secure and manageable, it also allows you to segment your traffic so that you can dictate how different users and devices utilize your network. So less power for Jim to peruse Facebook and more power for the equipment and devices you need to operate smoothly.
Whether you are considering a Wireless Network design for a new space or need to replace an existing network, SecurEdge has the tools and industry experience to help you. From design to deployment to support, we've got you covered.
Find out what SecurEdge Wi-Fi can do for you.
Kevin is the Manger of Business Development. He enjoys piña coladas and getting caught in the rain.