9 tips to improve a corporate WiFi network
No business can survive without a good internet connection. But more often than not, the signal quality could be better. Delays and drops are the order of the day and harm business activity. Fortunately, today any firm can improve a corporate WiFi network.
Technology companies are developing tools to optimize these networks. In this way, users have access to knowledge that, in the past, was reserved exclusively for technicians.
But how do these programs help to improve a corporate WiFi network? By checking the status of the network, monitoring the signal strength and identifying those channels with more traffic and less interference.
In addition, there are several tips to guide organizations. These guidelines dictate guidelines that, if followed correctly, maximize the signal and mark a before and after. A slow connection slows down work. On the other hand, an agile connection speeds up tasks with a direct impact on productivity.
Choosing the best location for the access point
The design of new offices already takes into account parameters such as WiFi. Furthermore, materials that have little impact on their intensity, such as wood, are used during their construction. However, offices built in the past did not pay attention to these aspects. Therefore, it is common for the distribution of their construction elements to affect the strength with which the signal is received.
WiFi travels through waves. If these collide with obstacles along the way, their strength will weaken as they have to avoid or pass through them. In addition, seemingly harmless elements such as walls, ceilings, furniture or pipes contribute to reducing its power.
Metal installations, on the other hand, are one of its greatest enemies. Although all the materials it encounters attenuate its strength to a greater or lesser extent, metal is one of those that have the greatest impact.
Having software that can analyze the space and detect those points where the signal drops is essential for improving a business WiFi network. Acrylic Wi-Fi Heatmaps is one of them.
This WiFi planning and site survey application allows you to import the maps of the location on which you are going to work. After processing them, it prepares a diagnosis of the situation. With this information as a basis, it proceeds to generate a detailed map of the WiFi coverage, providing recommendations to optimize the infrastructure.
Through the creation of heat maps, this program shows the company in a very visual way those points where the signal loses strength. Thanks to its WiFi Planning functionality, it also allows the development of future installation forecasts, drawing the walls and selecting the materials for maximum precision.
Once the obstructive elements are clear, they can be relocated to clear the path, or another location can be chosen for the access point. To ensure maximum effectiveness, it is advisable to follow the indications provided by the tool, which will show the ideal point to locate it.
However, if this solution is not feasible or does not work, there are still many other alternatives to explore.
Identifying WiFi interference
Nowadays, the number of devices connected to the Internet is immense. Computers, cell phones, tablets, watches, voice assistants, televisions, cameras, refrigerators… All these signals interfere with each other.
In an office, this phenomenon is multiplied, as many devices work in unison and contribute to this congestion. In cities, the networks of other apartments and neighboring buildings also interfere.
These devices use the 802.11 standard, which unifies wireless environments. If they all share the same band, it is very likely to become saturated. This results in a noticeable slowdown in connection speed.
There are two types of interference: co-channel interference and adjacent interference. The first occurs when two or more networks are transmitting on the same channel. The second occurs when networks transmit on adjacent channels. Both types of interference are detrimental to signal quality, as the power is divided among all the devices using the channel.
Employing WiFi scanner tools that identify potential interference is the best method to find out if this situation is the real cause of the coverage irregularity. Advanced solutions, such as those from Acrylic Wi-Fi, are already being developed to find and recommend the least saturated channel. The Acrylic Wi-Fi Analyzer, for example, studies the network and allows the administrator to visualize all connected devices.
In brief, if the organization’s equipment is moved to the clearest channel, it will receive a better connection. By improving a corporate WiFi network, employees will work faster and enjoy maximum performance.
Tracking non-WiFi interference
However, many devices that do not use the b can still pose an obstacle. How is this possible? Because they transmit on radio frequencies similar to WiFi, using the 2.4 GHz or 5 GHz spectrum. This is the case with technologies such as Bluetooth or infrared.
Identifying the electronic devices that interfere with the company’s access point is a fundamental task. But it is complex because they can be of all kinds. Microwaves, monitors, telephones, loudspeakers, pacemakers, cameras, antennas, baby monitors, power stations?
Any device that allows the establishment of connections is susceptible to being a source of interference. And this makes them very complex to locate and dodge. To complete this mission, it is crucial to employ a spectrum analyzer, which helps to discover the origin of the noise sources.
Once they have been identified, there are two alternatives. First, the company can relocate the access point itself or the devices, preventing their signals from colliding. For this reason, intelligent rearrangement of the workspace is one of the best allies for improving a corporate WiFi network, as it saves this kind of inconvenience.
Additionally, there are everyday electronic devices such as microwaves that, due to their technology, generate interference in the WiFi frequency range (2.4GHz) and can generate signal drops when they are working.
Increasing resources to improve a corporate WiFi network
However, it may be the case that poor signal reception is not due to the layout of the constructive elements or interference with other devices. In these situations, it is advisable to contact the supplier to check the power and number of access points installed. The organization should check that these are indeed adequate for its needs.
Sometimes the signal does not reach certain areas of the office, even though no obstacles have been detected in the way. A quick and effective solution is to install a new access point to ensure coverage in that location.
On other occasions, instead of occurring in specific areas, there is a general coverage problem that affects the entire surface. In this case, it is necessary to verify whether the conditions that have been installed are met. If they are, the company will have to consider increasing its WiFi investment.
These solutions are more conventional but have proven their effectiveness over the years. And using tools such as those from Acrylic Wi-Fi allows companies to ensure that there are no obstacles present or that the operator is compliant and providing the agreed services.
This suite of programs arms individuals with the technologies necessary to detect these situations on their own. It also provides them with the knowledge to act accordingly. In short, Acrylic Wi-Fi allows network studies to be carried out from a laptop simply and intuitively to improve a corporate WiFi network.
Suppose the organization decides to go this route. In that case, once the new access points have been installed, or more resources have been contracted, another review of the WiFi installation helps to verify that everything is in order and that the incident has been resolved.
Configuring a WiFi mesh system
Sometimes, however, the solution is more than just opting for an access point with more power. For example, if the space is very large, there will be areas where the signal does not reach with quality or not at all. Many offices face this problem daily.
WiFi mesh networks appeared to solve this problem. These networks are composed of a main access point, which has a series of access points connected to each other. But for Internet users, it is a single network that shares both the SSID and the password.
They have become a more recommended option than combining an access point and extenders or repeaters. The main advantage over this alternative is that repeaters only communicate with the access point, not with each other. In addition, WiFi mesh networks have advanced management. They do not simply connect users to the access point closest to the device but to the one that will give a higher-quality signal. Thus, they intelligently redirect traffic for maximum optimization.
For these reasons, more and more companies are choosing to install a WiFi mesh system. They can configure it based on their needs, starting with the access point and a single access point and adding more as demand increases.
Check quality parameters to improve a corporate WiFi network
Another best practice for improving a corporate WiFi network is to check the quality parameters. The Acrylic Wi-Fi Heatmaps tool includes the WiFi Quality functionality aimed at this task.
With it, companies can check which areas of the office are compatible with Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) communications or web browsing. VoIP is the set of resources that facilitate the transmission of voice over the Internet. To do this, they send it in digitally shaped data packets.
This application colors the different zones red or green, depending on whether they are suitable for this type of connection. In this way, it displays the information in a very visual way. If the area meets the optimal levels to support proper navigation and calls over WiFi, it will appear green. On the contrary, in those points where the established levels are not reached, red will dominate.
With this data in its possession, the company can implement the most appropriate measures to transform those parts tinged with red into green.
WiFi Quality also helps to identify all kinds of problems and deficiencies in the network. It also defines the necessary changes to be made to solve them, with profiles oriented to the needs of each user.
After selecting the appropriate profile for the organization’s network, the application automatically diagnoses its performance and provides feedback for improvement. The default profiles (Web Browsing and VoIP) have parameters configured by Acrylic Wi-Fi’s WiFi optimization experts. These professionals determine the network’s capacity to support browsing and calls over IP. But each customer can define additional quality controls to suit their demands.
In short, WiFi Quality provides an overall assessment of the wireless installation. As a result, surveying and improving a corporate WiFi network has never been easier.
Expel potential intruders
Today, virtually everyone uses and relies on WiFi. But there are still networks open to the general public that completely lack security measures. And there are likely to be people taking advantage of this to surf the Internet for free.
Encrypting the WiFi and protecting it with a secure password is a must. In case it is already secured with a password, it is advisable to perform a scan to make sure that there are no intruders. If unknown devices that do not belong to the company are detected, they should be removed to prevent access. Once the stowaways have been purged, it is time to strengthen the password, avoiding the most common mistakes.
Getting a strong password is a simple task. Opting for a combination of uppercase letters, lowercase letters, numbers and symbols is an effective way to protect yourself from attackers. In addition, it should be long, with a minimum of eight characters, so that it cannot be guessed in a short time by brute force attacks. Finally, it is advisable to avoid adding personal information to the password.
The use of the latest encryption technologies, whenever possible, such as WPA3, offers a guarantee that communications are secure and, in the best of cases, will prevent someone from cracking the password and thus gaining access to our WiFi network.
Upgrading the access point to improve a corporate WiFi network
Like all technologies, WiFi progresses and evolves. Every few years, a new version is launched on the market, including improvements in aspects such as range, latency reduction or file upload and download speeds.
To take advantage of the benefits of the latest versions, it is essential to keep abreast of these developments. And the access point must be upgraded to support these features. An outdated access point can also be the cause of WiFi slowdowns.
However, to receive these features, both the access point and the equipment receiving the signal must support the new version. Currently, the latest wireless transmission standard is 802.11ax. Also known as WiFi 6 or WiFi 6E. However, there are still many devices using WiFi 5 – 802.11ac or earlier.
The sixth version is a 40% improvement in maximum data rate over the fifth version. It also reduces latency by around 75% and better handles the presence of large numbers of users. It also includes improvements specifically aimed at mitigating interference, optimizing performance and mitigating power consumption.
Controlling users with excessive consumption
Not all Internet users consume the same amount of resources. And some may be performing heavy and demanding tasks, hogging much of the signal power. This presents multiple disadvantages for the rest of the employees, who see their speed sacrificed.
While there are times when one user needs to use a lot of resources, it is often disproportionate and detrimental to others. To prevent this situation, some tools allow certain applications to be prioritized over others.
In this way, if a worker must finish an activity that consumes a lot of resources, he will continue to have the same power until he finishes it, regardless of how many users try to access it. If, on the other hand, the company wishes to ensure a more equitable distribution, it is sufficient to place the other programs on top.
In conclusion, using this set of techniques, any organization can improve a corporate WiFi network. And the suite of software developed by Acrylic Wi-Fi helps you in this task, putting advanced tools at your fingertips to optimize the signal to the maximum.