Detailed WLAN report

Access Point

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

MAC Address
AP Orange-27BA
b, g, n
WLAN_D264 Client 3
Samsung Electronics Co.Ltd
CBS-27BA Client 2
Apple. Inc.

Signal coverage levels

Acrylic Wi-Fi report Rssi

2.4 Ghz Access Points Channels

Acrylic WiFi report Channel 2.4GHz

Network Quality

Channel Quality
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What are Wi-Fi Channels:

Wi-Fi devices can operate on 2.4GHz and 5GHz frequency bands. In turn, these frequency bands are split up into frequency ranges known as Wi-Fi channels. Wi-Fi devices use these channels to transmit data and communications.

Your connection speed may significantly vary depending on the channel being used.

What issues have been detected and what to do:

Wi-Fi transmission saturation on channel 1 is observed, along with adjacent channel overlapping from neighboring networks.

Network performance is not adequate due to transmission saturation on the operating channel, as well as adjacent channel overlapping.
This saturation has a direct impact on the network performance, mainly on the network transmission speed.

It is recommended to change the network's operating channel to the one that is less used, has less interference, and experiences less adjacent channel overlapping.

How to fix this issue:

To improve network CBS-27BA performance based on channel selection, the following corrective measures should be considered:

  • Configure the access point to broadcast the network on a channel less congested than the current one.
    Suggested channels: No suggested channels on this frequency band.
  • Change frequency band from 2.4 to 5 GHZ, since the latter is less frequently used. Bear in mind that not all devices support this frequency band.

Signal Quality
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What is signal strength:

RSSI, or Received Signal Strength Indicator, refers to the strength level a Wi-Fi signal is received by a device.
Wi-Fi signal strength is measured in dBm, ranging from -100 (weakest) to 0 (strongest).
Values above -65 dBm are considered optimal to ensure normal wireless communications.

Wi-Fi signal strength depends on multiple factors:

  • Distance between access point and client device.
  • Physical obstacles between access point and client device.
  • Access point broadcasting strength.
  • Access point's and client device's antennas orientation.
  • Antenna gain and type.

What issues have been detected and what to do:

Network CBS-27BA broadcasted by access point 14:B9:68:FD:27:C0 (AP Orange-27BA) is received with a weak signal strength from -50 to -65 dBm.

Communications may not be fluid and connection may be interrupted, preventing the access point from reaching its maximum supported transmission speed.

Internet browsing and voice and video communications are possible, although speed drops and connection interruptions can be experimented at times.

Even though communications are within normal thresholds, signal strength values and overall network performance can certainly be improved, mainly to reach faster network data transmission speeds.

How to fix this issue:

Signal strength either broadcasted by an access point or received by a client device can be improved a follows::

  • Wi-Fi network repeaters can be implemented to extend Wi-Fi coverage in case of a large distance between the access point and the client device.
  • If certain architectural elements such as walls, furniture, or similar objects -specially metallic- are reducing signal strength even when access point and client device are not too far away from each other, access point can be rearranged to a position where the straight to the client device goes through the least possible obstacles, or in certain extreme cases, the access point can be moved to a different area to improve visibility between the two devices.
  • Modern access points allow adjustment of broadcasting power. Whenever possible, it is recommended to increase broadcasting power to improve the signal strength received by client devices.
  • Antennas are an important factor. Normally, omnidirectional antennas are employed, which are vertically positioned for a correct signal propagation across the coverage area. There are antennas with larger capacity for Wi-Fi transmission and reception. If possible, high gain antennas should be used.
  • There are Wi-Fi signal amplifiers that can be connected between the device and the antenna that allow to broadcast the received signal at a higher strength, increasing RSSI values. These devices require an external power source and ventilation, so it is recommended as the last option if all previous attempts were unsuccessful or not viable.

NOTE: Local transmission power regulations should be taken in count.

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What is Signal to Noise Ratio (SNR):

Signal-To-Noise Ratio or SNR measures Wi-Fi signal strength in relation to the noise present when the signal is received.
SNR is expressed in a logarithmic scale, is measured in Decibels (dB), and provides a signal quality measure.

SNR values range from 0 to 100 dB, being 100 dB the highest signal quality value.
SNR values above 50 dB are considered optimal and normal.
Noise is mostly produced by devices operating on the same frequency within the Wi-Fi network coverage area that overlap with the Wi-Fi transmissions.

What issues have been detected and what to do:

SNR value ranges from 20dB to 60dB, showing interference within the radioelectric medium.

A SNR within this range suggests that part of the received signal is noise. Communications are possible but a negligible amount of data packets may not be received by the client device due to the noise during data transmission. These packets are discarded by the receiving device, resulting in a decreased effective transmission speed and lower network performance.

Communications are acceptable under these noise levels, and for a standard network usage, they are not relevant. If a higher network performance is required due to data transmission needs between the network's devices, it is recommended to attempt corrective measures to reduce noise on the Wi-Fi frequency bands for an improved data transmission with less noise.

How to fix this issue:

It is necessary to identify the noise source around the access point 14:B9:68:FD:27:C0 (AP Orange-27BA) broadcasting the Wi-Fi network CBS-27BA.
Appliances such as microwaves, bluetooth devices, other access points, video surveillance cameras, baby callers, and wireless phones are common noise sources.

Network Security
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How Wi-Fi network security is measured:

The Wi-Fi network security level is measured based on the authentication and encryption mechanisms, in other words, the way a client authenticates at the access point and how the data transmitted though the access point is encrypted.

There are three encryption methods for the 802.11 standard:

  • WEP: The first encryption method for Wi-Fi networks. It is now considered obsolete and broken.
  • WPA: The predecessor of WEP encryption, which was developed as a temporary solution to address WEP security issues, allowed the upgrade from WEP to WPA while reusing the chipsets.
  • WPA2: While WPA was developed as a preliminary version, this is version is considered as final and certified by the IEEE 802.11 Wi-Fi Alliance in 2004.

With regards to WEP authentication:

  • Open: No authentication required. Any client device can connect to the access point without having to enter a password. These networks' traffic is in clear text.
  • Shared Key: This method requires a password to establish connection with the access point.

WPA and WPA2 share the authentication methods:

  • TKIP: Temporal Key Integrity Protocol - Protocol by which each client uses a different password that starts with a unique seam, reducing the risk of statistical attacks.
  • CCMP: Counter Cipher Mode with Block Chaining Message Authentication Code Protocol - Encryption protocol based on the AES standard that provides data confidentiality, authentication, and access control.

Based on the environment in which the network will be deployed:

  • PSK: Pre-Shared Key - (WPA/WPA2 Personal) Method used in SOHO (Small office and Home Office) environments. A secret password is established for the access point that is known by those who need to connect to the network that is being broadcasted by the access point.
  • MGT: Management - (WPA/WPA2-Enterprise) Method used in corporate environments. The authentication process for this type of networks is generally carried out against a RADIUS server.

The WPS (Wi-Fi Protected Setup) standard has been established for home secure networks in 2006 to simplify the use of home based Wi-Fi networks. Using this standard, users can access these networks by entering a PIN or by simply pushing the WPS button that allows users to easily connect to the network during a limited period of time. This security standard is vulnerable to multiple types of attacks, therefore it is not recommended for corporate networks.

What issues have been detected and what to do:

The network security configuration implements obsolete security mechanisms that are considered broken in terms of security.

The communications and access to the network can be compromised in a matter of minutes by using automated tools that do not require any advanced knowledge.
While the security configuration do not affect the communications performance, it does pose a serious privacy threat and do not protect against information deft, critical to business environments.

This network configuration is not appropriate nor recommended under no circumstances. It is recommended to increase the security levels to ensure more secure and private communications.

How to fix this issue:

Obsolete security mechanisms should be disabled to increase security through up-to-date mechanisms.

For corporate environments, the WPA2-MGT standard should be required for a more secure deployment and easy password provision to make use of the network or other access point mechanism.

If that is not possible, the WPA2-PSK-CCMP standard is recommended, using a non dictionary alphanumeric password with a length of at least 10 characters. Additionally, it is recommended to change the password periodically.

For home environments, the network security level should be at least the WPA-PSK standard. 10-character alphanumeric passwords that are periodically changed are recommended.

If the network is intended for professional use, despite the fact that the WPS security mechanism is designed for home and SOHO (Small Office/Home Office)) environments, this feature should be disabled. There are known vulnerabilities that, by means of automated tools, can seriously compromise the connection and discover the access point password. This feature is only recommended for home networks, if used at all, otherwise it should be disabled.

Transmission Speed
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What is transmission speed:

The transmission speed indicates an access point's theoretical maximum data transfer rate. This parameter depends on access point capabilities and configurations. The following table shows maximum transfer rate based on the 802.11 standard, also known as PhyType, that is supported by the access point.
Different configurations allowing different transmission speeds are possible based on the operating standard.

These configuration mainly depend on two parameters::

  • Spatial Streams: Is a Wi-Fi network's ability to transmit data simultaneously through different antennas by making use of the Multiple Input/Multiple Output (MIMO) technology. The more spatial streams are supported, the higher amount of data can be sent simultaneously, which results in a faster transmission speed.
  • Channel Width: This parameter indicates the range of frequencies used to transmit data. The default channel width is 20 MHz, but higher channel width values can be set to achieve faster transmission speeds..

If a higher channel width is set, allowing the use of a broader frequency range, and the number of spatial streams is increased, higher transmission speeds can be reached.

Phy Type Transmission speed Spatial Streams Channel width
802.11 2 Mbps 1 20 MHz
802.11b 11 Mbps 1 20 MHz
802.11g 54 Mbps 1 20 MHz
802.11n 150 Mbps 1 20 MHz
300 Mbps 2 40 MHz
600 Mbps 4 40 MHz

What issues have been detected and what to do:

Maximum supported access point data transmission speed falls below 300Mbps.
This speed might be insufficient for networks with multiple simultaneous users or networks requiring large volume data transfers.

For home networks, this speeds may not meet users' minimum requirements.
In order to ensure a good network performance and user experience, an access point supporting high transmission speeds should be use for corporate networks.

How to fix this issue:

If the access point is configured to operate on a data transmission speed lower than 300Mbps while the device supports faster speeds, it should be configured to operate on its maximum supported speed.
In case the access point does not support any faster data transmission speeds required for the type of traffic supported by the network, then the access point should be replaced by a new one supporting the latest communications standards.

802.11 Standards
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What is the 802.11 standard:

The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) establishes the 802.11 standard for Wi-Fi networks.
Since its creation in 1997, the 802.11 standard has evolved into many different versions, with data transfer speed improvements and signal modulation changes that provide a better resistance to interferences and performance.
The following table shows this evolution::

Standar Publish date Frequency band Transmission speed Compatible Channel width Modulation
802.11 1997 2.4GHz 2 Mbps - 22 MHz DSSS, FHSS
802.11a 1999 5GHz 54 Mbps - 20 MHz OFDM
802.11b 1999 2.4GHz 11 Mbps 802.11 22 MHz DSSS
802.11g 2003 2.4GHz 54 Mbps 802.11, 802.11b 20 MHz OFDM
802.11n 2009 2.4GHz/5GHz From 150 Mbps to 600 Mbps* 802.11, 802.11a, 802.11b, 802.11g 20, 40 MHz MIMO-OFDM
802.11ac 2014 5GHz From 433.3 Mbps to 7 Gbps* 802.11a, 802.11n 20, 40, 80, 160, 80+80 MHz MIMO-OFDM

* It depends on the used configuration number: Number of antennas/spatial streams and channel width

What issues have been detected and what to do:

The access point with Mac Address 14:B9:68:FD:27:C0 (AP Orange-27BA) broadcasting the network CBS-27BA implements the standard version 802.11n, which is one of the most recent versions, maintaining compatibility with older versions such as 802.11b and 802.11g.

Maintaining compatibility with older versions can negatively impact the network performance. This is due to the network operates on the oldest standard supported by its clients, in other words, if only one of the clients operates on the lowest standard, all other clients will operate on the same standard, degrading the service across the network.

The use of the correct supported standard version should evaluated based on the network clients and, if possible, older and outdated standards should be disabled.

How to fix this issue:

Whenever possible, the access point should be configured to operate under the most recent standards to provide a better network performance.
In case of a low network performance, a new access point supporting the most recent standard version possible should be deployed.

Enabling 802.11b/g device compatibility is not recommended.

Retry rates
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What is the retry rate:

When a Wi-Fi data packet is read by the receiver, an acknowledgment of receipt is sent to the sender. If for any reason the packet does not reach it destination, the sender sends the packet once again until the receiver confirms reception of the packet.
The retry rate is the percentage of Wi-Fi packets that had to be resent because the previously sent packets had not reached their destination.

The wireless mean is prone to lose data packets due to the following reasons::

  • Certain construction elements or obstacles interfere with the Wi-Fi signal, weakening it and preventing it from reaching its destination.
  • The presence of noise on the operating channel and the wireless mean prevents the reception of the Wi-Fi signal at destination.
  • The distance between access point and client device is too long, resulting in a weakened Wi-Fi signal that, in many cases, cannot be reconstructed on the receiver end and therefore has to be resent.

What issues have been detected and what to do:

The retry rate ranges from 1% to 10%.
The access point with Mac Address 14:B9:68:FD:27:C0 (AP Orange-27BA) that broadcasts the network CBS-27BA experiences a moderate packet loss.

A moderate packet loss reduces the effective data transmission speed, preventing the specified access point transmission speed to be reached. This packet loss should not have a great impact on voice and video communications, which may experience some interruptions or delays.

While the network operates correctly, if it is intended for an intensive use or higher traffic demands are anticipated, corrective actions should be taken in order to improve the network performance in the future.

How to fix this issue:

There are several approaches to prevent packet loss:

  • Moving the access point to a location without obstacles to improve signal strength.
  • Analyzing the noise in the wireless medium to try to eliminate, reduce or move away from neighboring noise sources.
  • Installing higher gain antennas on the network client devices or amplifiers to improve signal reception and data transmission.

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