Overloaded, Weak Signals: Alleviating Common Wi-Fi Bottlenecks

September 28th, 2016 by admin

Cartoon graphic of a hand holding a tablet with a Wi-Fi symbol on the screen

If your staff is complaining about slow Internet access at your office, it’s time to consider how well the Wi-Fi network is configured. Slow Wi-Fi is best known, after all, for transforming an otherwise ideal work environment into a slow-boiling pot of aggravation.

To increase productivity (and decrease stress), minimize your SMB network’s load times ASAP by addressing any and all problems with Wi-Fi infrastructure.

It’s Getting Crowded in Here

Slow Wi-Fi can have many causes. Maybe your network is starting to buckle under the pressure of employee smartphones, tablets, and laptops added to the regular load. Maybe your once solitary office is now competing for the same airspace as several other nearby businesses. For whatever reason, your network is either internally or externally overcrowded—or both. Unfortunately, upgrading to a faster, newer network standard won’t necessarily improve Wi-Fi range or reception for a quick fix.

Expanding Assets

Not enough room? Make more. Managed services providers can give networks stuck on the old 2.4GHz range a huge capacity boost by enabling the 5GHz range. When used in tandem with 2.4GHz, 5GHz moves a share of the traffic to a second wireless network. Your MSP may also suggest splitting devices across multiple networks: one network hosts all employee computers, another handles printers and IoT devices, and a third handles BYOD equipment. Splitting traffic across multiple frequencies and channels will greatly expand capacity and eliminate performance bottlenecks.

Working Around Interference

If that’s not enough of a reason to share, it’s worth noting that 2.4GHz networks compete not only with traffic from other nearby businesses, but also with other office devices that operate at 2.4GHzincluding wireless landline phones and the break room microwave. MSPs can help configure your networks to utilize the non-overlapping 1, 6, and 11 channels to minimize radio wave competition, and configure the network to use the slim 20MHz channel mode to handle competing traffic. Businesses with minimal Wi-Fi competition can utilize the 40MHz channel for better reception.

Location, Location, Location

Poorly located routers and access points can amplify problems stemming from network congestion. For example, if your SMB places its primary access point near a wall shared with another business that’s doing the same thing, both access points will interfere with each other—which degrades performance. An MSP can help develop a Wi-Fi heatmap to determine the best access point locations and implement directional antennas to accommodate unique office layouts.

The IT consulting experts at MPA Networks are ready to help your SMB establish a better networking environment. Not only will your staff get work done faster with a more stable network, but they’re also going to feel a lot less stress in the process.

Posted in: Hardware and Software