WiFi giving you fits? Users complaining of being “dropped”?

Do you suffer “drops” and “disconnects” when using your corporate WiFi network? Access to the Internet is slow and eventually you get the dreaded error that indicates you could not reach the webpage or you have no Internet. 

If so, there are a number of things that can cause it, to include channel interference, poor signal strength, and too many users on one access point. The only real way to figure it out for sure is to conduct a professional WiFi Site Survey that reads not just signal strength, but looks at other factors such as spectrum usage, channel overlap, noise, and actual device placement. With this information in hand, a good wireless engineer can fix your issues. 

Wireless networks are different than a traditional wired network. They require constant care and feeding! They are not “set it and forget it”. The wireless environment is constantly changing. Some of the biggest polluters of the WiFi spectrum are the ISPs that are pushing open hotspots on every install they do (even if you don’t ask for it). They love to set the WiFi router they give you to an 80MHz channel (chewing up 4 usable 20MHz channels). If two wireless access points can “see” each other and are using the same channel, you will likely have interference causing these “drops”. Imagine how many companies are using the same 80MHz channels in one office building with many tenants!

Recently we were engaged by a client that had numerous user complaints. Typical complaint was “slow internet” that would eventually stop altogether. The users were trying to stream videos mostly and would experience high rates of buffering that eventually would disconnect. Reboots seemed to resolve it but it would return again eventually. The client was in a large office building with roughly 10 other companies, all with WiFi networks. The clients network was end of life product. About 25,000 square feet of open space and offices. After we completed our survey we discovered half of their APs were on the same channel and all within visual range of each other (despite their controller using auto channel). Their neighboring systems were all set to 40 and 80MHz channels and the same ones as theirs. Power on all APs was turned up. Our final report indicated which channels they should use and on which access points. We also suggested a “good neighbor” policy whereby their IT staff would reach out to the IT staff of the other building tenants and work together to reduce channel congestion. The result… no more dropped connections. While there, we also found a point-to-point 5GHz radio on the roof above their office that was chewing up 80MHz of spectrum to transmit small amounts of data about the building systems to another building nearby. That was also addressed.

We use professional grade tools that allow us to gather data on your network as well as those around you. All you need to provide is a decent copy of your floor plans (to scale). If you don’t have floor plans, we can work with you to create a basic floor plan we can use. A typical office that is up to about 25,000 square feet takes 5-7 hours to walk thoroughly. After we gather the data, we will take a few hours to analyze it and produce a report with options on how to fix your issues.

Call 717-817-2503 to discuss your needs or email alex.wilson@collabsion.com to set up a time to call.

#wifi #wifisurvey #ekahau #wireless