Nothing says frustration like a slow wireless network. With so many devices reliant on solid wireless connection, a few key slip ups in network design could result in reduced productivity. Below we round up five ways you can adjust your network design to promote faster and more reliable wi-fi access.
Poor Design and Network Configuration
Wireless Design is a very involved process. It requires that architects look at optimal placement of access points, the location of signal weakening obstructions such as concrete walls and trees, and more. Surveying tools such as Airmagnet allow network designers to locate interference between channels and network obstructions.
Relying on Old Wireless Standards
802.11ac has been around for roughly five years as of the publication of this piece with nearly every device in the enterprise market supports the standard. So the question remains, ‘why do people still use outdated wireless standards?‘ Well, there are a number of reasons, ranging from basic laziness to an inability to afford a full 802.11ac overhaul. The better question is: why shouldn’t I stick with antiquated wireless and security standards?
802.11ac is currently able to support data rates well over 1000 Mbps, but by using old security standards such as WEP and the first generation of WPA can definitely hinder the performance of your network, limiting speeds to roughly 54 Mbps.
If there are older Wi-Fi clients on your network that aren’t able to support WPA2-AES security, see if there are firmware updates that can add that capability. You may want to consider adding a USB or PCI based Wi-Fi adapter to the computer or device to give it modern Wi-Fi connectivity as well
Not Using the 5Ghz Band
While the 2.4 GHz spectrum offers 11 different channels, it only offers 3 non-overlapping channels. The 5GHz spectrum however, provides up to 24 channels. Not all APs support all the channels, but all the channels are non-overlapping if using 20 MHz-wide channels. To improve network performance, you should try to get as many wireless clients to use the 5GHz spectrum as possible.
Using Low Data Rates
Access Points have the final say over which data rates are supported for the connections to wireless clients. If an access point supports the lowest data rates, then it can be said that they’ll be accepting slow connections. Access Points that don’t support these slow data rates will eventually drop connection to slow connections, which while annoying to some clients, ultimately speeds up your network.