How to improve wireless connectivity in your office

These days, employees not only expect their employer to provide wireless, but they also expect a decent connection. Here, WiFi whiz David Kelleher offers nine tips to improve the speed and reliability of your office WiFi.

These days, employees not only expect their employer to provide wireless, but they also expect a decent connection. Here, WiFi whiz David Kelleher offers nine tips to improve the speed and reliability of your office WiFi. 

 

Two things that really upset people when they try to connect to a wireless service is that a) the connection is not free, and b) that it doesn’t work properly. The reaction is very much the same within an office environment. Bandwidth is always an issue, but there are other factors that impact on the quality of a wireless connection.

 

First, the more devices that are connected to the network, the greater the demand on the bandwidth available (a constant in the equation). Second, the position of one or more access points will affect the quality of the service (hiding it behind a concrete column or next to a strong electrical source can kill the service).

 

The answer may not always be ‘add more bandwidth’. Sometimes you may need to add another router or tweak the existing configuration. What you need to remember is that wireless routers are smart switching devices and they can only connect a limited number of active wireless devices simultaneously.

 

So how do you manage the growing number of devices your employees bring to the office and seek to connect to your WiFi network? Different routers handle the number of devices that can be connected based on their settings, but there is a finite number. One solution is to install more routers, but this needs to be done properly or it will backfire.

 

The first step, I would suggest, is to calibrate an existing router to handle more devices before you choose the more expensive and complex path of installing more routers. Here are a few tips to maximise the use of a single-router setup

 

#1. Bandwidth allocation is directly proportional to the number of connected devices and the type of applications being communicated. Real-time applications (for example, video streaming, audio, conferencing, gaming, and so on) are given priority using a quality of service (QoS) protocol and require a minimum bandwidth allocation. The type of router affects bandwidth allocation and number of connections. For example, 802.11ac gives larger chunks of the total bandwidth at the expense of the number of devices. Pre-assigning bandwidth for certain devices (also known as VIP) can limit the number of devices. All network devices compete for the total bandwidth of the wireless router.

 

To read this article in full, including eight more awesome tips from David Kelleher on how to improve wireless connectivity in your office, keep an eye out for the May 2014 print issue of My Business.

 

David Kelleher is a team member at GFI Software.

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