Is Your Wireless Network Optimized for Performance?
Updated: Apr 10, 2019
It goes without saying that WiFi access points are ubiquitous, especially in office space with many tenants. Everyone has their own wireless network. This not only poses a challenge to optimizing performance, but is also a pretty serious health hazard. I'll address the health implications in a later blog post, but it's enough to say that we're being bombarded with EMF from many sources including Cell Phones, WiFi, Lighting, and the electrical wiring in the building.
To optimize performance of your wireless network I usually recommend hiring a specialist to do a site survey. It's really the only way to maximize performance in a busy diversely populated office environment. This can be costly, but I think in most cases worth the expense. But there are a couple of things you can do on your own to get better WiFi performance.
Most everyone is familiar with the two bands that are used for wireless, that is 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz. The 2.4 GHz band is very crowded since it's been around longer and is used by most cordless consumer products like phones, baby monitors, etc.
5 GHz is less crowded for the opposite reason and should be used where possible. The one drawback
of 5 GHz is its range--it doesn't quite have the same range as a 2.4 GHz network so coverage is not as good. So let's focus on the 2.4 GHz.
The 2.4 GHz band is divided into 20 MHz wide channels numbering from 1-11. Without getting too technical, the channels are separated by 5 MHz in a total spectrum of 100 MHz. The result is overlap. Overlapping channels is like trying to have a conversation with someone while another person is yelling in your ear. The only channels that don't overlap are 1, 6, and 11. So pick one of these channels and try it for a while. Then change to another until you find the best performance.
A specialist would have the tools to identify the least crowded channel in your environment, but just being in a non-overlapping channel will have a very positive effect on performance. A crowded non-overlapping channel is like having many conversations within a group with rules on who gets to speak next. So this is better than someone yelling in your ear.
There are other adjustments that can be made, but this is where a site survey will really help. To read more about wireless networks, here is an article from metageek.
Metageek is the definitive expert in the field, which we use as a resource when doing Wireless Network Site Surveys. Visit their site at https://www.metageek.com/