Common connection pitfalls on company networks
Modern business connectivity has never been faster or cheaper – just as according to “Moore’s Law”, computer processing power doubles every 18 months, high-end internet connection speeds have been found to increase by 50% each year according to “Nielson’s Law.”
Recent increases in network connection speeds have allowed organisations to switch to cloud-based computing, as well as having the capability to transfer large files efficiently between offices and remote users without discernible performance degradation.
However, modern business networks are complex beasts involving multiple data transmission technologies: carrier backbones and data pipes, wide area networks (WAN), Private Virtual Networks (VPN) and Local Area Networks (LAN – both wired Ethernet and Wi-Fi) and the cellular phone network, that all need to work together to get a webpage, file, a voice call or video stream from one place to another.
Performance depends on all these working well in sync. Today we’ll look at the Wi-Fi component of the chain. So if your network isn’t achieving the speed increases Nielson’s Law suggests, then here are three Wi-Fi things to consider:
Does your Wi-Fi setup have enough capacity for the users you have?
If your internet speeds are slowing down, then it could be that you either have more users than your network was originally designed for, or your network was incorrectly designed from the very beginning.
If your organisation has brought on more people over the last twelve months, then a simple upgrade to the Wi-Fi Access Points may suffice.
However, to ensure that your network is set up correctly for the number of users your company has, a Wi-Fi analysis will produce a usage ‘heatmap’ showing where traffic is heaviest and congested access points may be under performing. A common misconception is that adding more access points will speed up Wi-Fi speeds – however this is not always the case, and often interference between access points means that although more users can now connect, the expected increased performance isn’t available.
Are there Wi-Fi dead spots in your office where it’s difficult to get a good connection?
Wi-Fi dead spots include those where devices won’t connect at all, as well as those areas where devices report that they are connected, but speeds are too slow to work effectively - creating frustration and loss of productivity.
Dead spots force your employees to move around to different parts of the office in search of a “better connection” which can overload access points and repeaters in the faster areas of your network, and also cause a whole other strain of network slowing: reduced user productivity.
It’s a relatively simple issue to fix, as a properly designed Wi-Fi network shouldn’t have any dead spots or slow areas.
The design phase involves analysis of a number of factors including: office floor size, number of storeys and floor plan - including the placement of solid walls, windows, dividers etc; building construction material – concrete, double-brick and other signal reducing materials; number of users – where the desks are clustered, meeting rooms, reception areas; heat maps of usage through the day, wired vs. wireless users, expected guest usage, and average number of connected devices (laptops, phones, tablets) per user; type and strength of wireless equipment (802.11g/b/n/ac/X) and measurement of interference across the Wi-Fi spectrum by other networks or other equipment.
Taking the time to analyse the networks needs and to design the Wi-Fi network will result in the appropriate number of, and optimally placed, Wi-Fi access points that mean everyone that is expected to connect to the network will be able to.
Ideally this is done before a new Wi-Fi network is deployed, however an analysis of an underperforming Wi-Fi network will also yield some “quick fix” solutions to improve speeds.
What Happens When Guests Access your Network?
Guest networks are an essential part of most modern businesses. Even in organisations which rarely have visitors, guest networks are vital for protecting the privacy and security of your primary network.
One thing all companies can do to safeguard their overall network speed is to control the usage on guest networks. Using business-grade Wi-Fi management tools to limits the amount of bandwidth speed guests can use on your network, allowing them to easily access the internet without affecting the performance of your primary Wi-Fi network.
BTAS Network – optimise the performance of your LAN.
BTAS Network involves the design, deployment and monitoring of your LAN – both wired and Wi-Fi, including 24/7 security management and network monitoring. BTAS Network gives you the highest possible performance, reliability, and uptime for your local area network (LAN) and Wi-Fi.