No one likes to experience poor Wi-Fi, especially when you need it most. We get brought in to troubleshoot different types of environments which allows us to see some of the most common Wi-Fi mistakes.
Organizations with IT teams will make a good effort into addressing their Wi-Fi issues. But sometimes it can be hard to tell if changing those configuration knobs creates a good or bad effect.
Wi-Fi is a very forgiving technology. It will work despite tough radio frequency conditions albeit by sacrificing throughput. Here are 5 mistakes we’ve come across that diminish Wi-Fi performance.
The most common mistake we see is improper mounting of access points (APs). An omnidirectional AP is most widely used. As best practice, these access points should be mounted on the ceiling to provide downward 360 degree coverage.
We know the aesthetics police will overrule the proper installations and force you to hide access points above ceiling tiles. This action impacts the performance of your Wi-Fi network.
Without device to AP line-of-sight, the Wi-Fi signal will be affected by attenuation and other RF characteristics.
In the ceiling you’ll find lots of HVAC. Wi-Fi signal will bounce around as it doesn’t go through aluminum. Devices will receive a reflected, suboptimal, signal. Wi-Fi is best when the AP is deployed close to the devices.
Solution: Understand how signal is propagated. Mount APs correctly.
In trying to remedy the plague of Wi-Fi issues, we find that network operators will tune their Wi-Fi aggressively. Setting minimum basic rates too high or setting the maximum channel width are often the incorrect ways to mitigate performance and reliability issues.
Vendor proprietary settings can get in the way of devices connecting properly.
Wi-Fi must be designed and configured for the devices.
Resolution: Determine Wi-Fi requirements and tune to these requirements.
Every troubleshooting engagement we’ve been part did not begin with a Wi-Fi design. The purpose of Wi-Fi design is to meet requirements for coverage and capacity. As a result, the ideal locations for APs are identified with the right quantity.
Companies that do not first perform a Wi-Fi design run have issues with poor roaming between desks and conference rooms or between warehouse aisles.
APs are placed in unfortunate locations around obstructions or there are too many APs.
The configuration has not been tuned since no design was created. There is a lack of channel and transmit power planning in which the Wi-Fi network needs optimization for the environment.
Resolution: Have a Wi-Fi design completed prior to purchasing equipment.
No Validation Survey
Although a Wi-Fi design was completed, or even in the case without a design, there was no verification or validation of the Wi-Fi network. Correct installation needs to be verified. Sometimes antennas are not installed properly.
A validation survey will also confirm the configuration of the Wi-Fi network is set properly.
Resolution: Perform a Wi-Fi validation survey after deployment
Too Many Access Points
There is such a thing as too many access points. And in the scenarios where we have seen this, it leads to a huge performance hit. Users have jitter or dropped video conference calls, Slack messages aren’t sent and webpages are slow to load.
We have seen APs deployed so close to one another that it is difficult for a device to roam to the proper access point.
And with a combination of aggressive tuning, we have a poorly configured Wi-Fi network and frustrated users.
Resolution: Have a Wi-Fi design completed to save on excess hardware expenditures
Improve Your Wi-Fi Today
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