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Common Mistakes When Setting Up Small Business Wi-Fi

startup-593299_640Setting up a new 802.11ac infrastructure in a small business isn’t something that can be taken lightly. Even though there may only be ten people in your company, business Wi-Fi must be set up securely and needs to be able to handle each person using multiple devices without bogging down the network.

Here are five mistakes that small businesses can sometimes make when setting up a wireless network:

Overloading the wireless router

When it comes to a small business, a standard wireless router isn’t going to cut it. There are some powerful 802.11ac routers on the market right now that can really make a difference, especially when there’s more than a few people accessing the network through the same router. Not only are you connecting PCs and mobile devices to the network, but there are also printers, cameras and copy machines to think about. Using a sub-par router will slow down operations, causing your employees to be frustrated and less efficient.

According to Paul Mah from PCWorld, setting up a standalone network switch and wireless access point will offload some clients to the access point and reduce the burden on your router’s processor, while a new gigabit ethernet switch will increase your local network’s speed.

Under provisioning your Wi-Fi network

Even if you only have a handful of employees, having more than one access point is pivotal to your network speed. When you set up your network, you may not be accounting for all of the possible devices that will be connected, like smartphones and tablets; that’s more than double the amount of devices than the number of employees you have. You can also connect devices like desktops and printers via Ethernet, that way they don’t bog down the wireless.

Bad placement of Wi-Fi access points

Putting an access point in an alcove next to a metallic fixture will slow down your wireless signal. You’re going to want your access point to be centralized to the people who are going to be accessing it and it usually does better for it to be higher off the ground. If an employee is in a cubical and is obstructed from the router by more than one wall or cube wall, they will most likely not get as strong as a signal than if the access point was up higher there it is virtually unobstructed.

Expecting to get the speeds shown on the box

The truth is, you will never get the Wi-Fi speeds that are promised buy any vendor or service provider. It’s the sad reality of internet speeds; yes when tested the routers deliver those speeds but those tests don’t account for real world conditions. Luckily there are some studies being conducted that are hoping to change that.

Using your router’s default channel

Routers are almost never ready to use for a small business environment right out of the box. By taking a moment and changing the channel on the router. Like with radio waves and walkie-talkies, everyone is on channel one and you can here other people in the area talking, and talk with them. This is because you’re sharing a channel with them and it can get a little crowded. There are three channels for Wi-Fi; one, six and eleven. If you’re in a more congested area there will always be someone else on your channel so it’s important to test them all to see which one gives you the best results.


wireless guide coverFor information on the top 802.11ac solutions, check out our latest Buyer’s Guide:

  • Easy, side-by-side comparison of the top 802.11ac wireless vendors
  • Descriptions of each solution and their strengths
  • Important questions to ask yourself and potential vendors when considering a solution
  • Market overview of the current 802.11ac wireless space
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