The rising usage and dependence on wireless technology in the workplace may be attributed to the widespread availability of such technology and its benefits in terms of convenience. However, the use of mobile devices may rapidly become a nuisance when your Wi-Fi connection is sluggish, jittery, or otherwise poor, leading to irritation among staff and even consumers. In the following paragraphs, you will learn essential pointers to super-boost the Wi-Fi at your workplace, ensuring that your Wi-Fi will continue to run at ideal levels.
It is impossible to conceive of a contemporary company that does not have access to WiFi. Internet access is often required on demand at all levels and in all types of businesses since the internet is currently one of the most powerful tools in the world. The reliability of the Wi-Fi network serves as the primary determinant of access in almost all commercial establishments. Even the most basic of networks are made up of many interconnected parts, and the performance of those parts can be significantly affected by various factors. If you follow just five easy suggestions, you will be able to address the most frequent issues and enjoy a Wi-Fi experience that is both quicker and more dependable.
Wi-Fi performance factors
The performance of Wi-Fi can be negatively impacted by several variables, including the hardware being used or the amount of available power. At the same time, some of these issues could be simple to resolve, and others might be more challenging.
Before we get into the methods that will give your Wi-Fi a considerable speed increase, let’s have a look at some of the main elements that might impact how well WiFi works:
Distance: WiFi routers have a restricted capacity for transmission because of how they were designed. Because not all wireless routers are constructed similarly, cheap routers are likely to create a weak WiFi signal that cannot cover an area greater than an office.
Obstacles: There are a variety of barriers and devices that can entirely block or absorb WiFi signals. These include ducting, furniture, electrical equipment, and even walls. In addition, a Wi-Fi signal will be somewhat blocked by any solid object, even if it’s not entirely stopped. WiFi networks operating at a lower frequency, such as 2.4GHz, have a more extraordinary ability to pass through solid objects than those working at a higher band frequency, 5GHz.
Interference: WiFi transmissions use the same portion of the electromagnetic spectrum as other types of wireless networks, such as radios and mobile phones. All of these things have the potential to interfere with the signal of your WiFi. Other electromagnetic appliances and gadgets, such as microwaves, walkie-talkies, and remote monitoring equipment, can interfere with WiFi signals to varying degrees. WiFi networks can potentially interfere with one another, which can be problematic in highly populated locations or office buildings that house several businesses.
Capacity: Capacity might vary significantly from one wireless router model to the next. In a busy workplace with more than a dozen employees, multiple fax machines, wireless printing, and WiFi-enabled security cameras, low-end wireless routers will have difficulty providing consistent wireless internet connection to all devices in the office.
Utilization: Even the most potent WiFi network can become unusable if numerous users start simultaneously making video calls or streaming content. The capacity of your internet connection, rather than the intensity of your WiFi signal, may sometimes be the source of the issue. If you want to get the most out of the WiFi at your business, you need to monitor and control those who use a lot of bandwidth, so they don’t siphon it away from other users.
The 10 Tips You Need to Know to Enhance Your Business WiFi
The experience of having a weak signal can be pretty unpleasant, but if you follow these techniques, you should be able to boost your Wi-Fi connections.
1. Put your wireless router in the middle of the room.
Positioning your wireless router is essential if you want to get the most out of your Wi-Fi connection and increase the strength of your signal.
Even while this may appear to be common sense, not many companies do this, and as a result, the WiFi router is often left to gather dust in a forgotten corner of the office. Improving a poor Wi-Fi signal may be accomplished by positioning your WiFi router as close as possible to the center of the business.
Wi-Fi routers require a connection to the internet. If the internet source in your workplace is not situated in a central location, you may make this connection more extensive by utilizing an Ethernet cable. If you do this, you can move the internet connection to a more central spot in the office, resulting in a stronger Wi-Fi signal.
2. Avoid obstacles and other potential sources of interference.
It is essential to consider any potential obstructions or interference sources before repositioning your WiFi router. For example, you are likely to have trouble with the strength of the WiFi signal if the router is hidden behind the enormous reception desk or is perched on top of a busy file cabinet.
It is best to avoid positioning your router in any area of your business where furniture might block the path of signals. Make every effort to prevent vast pieces of furniture, staircases, walls made of concrete, chimneys, and closets. Wi-Fi signals are susceptible to interference from a variety of external sources, including the following:
- Electronic gadgets that operate without wires, such as cordless phones, printers, and devices connected by Bluetooth
- Materials for construction, such as densely packed timber buildings, concrete, and metal shielding
- The radio waves that are emitted from microwaves have the potential to cause interference with Wi-Fi communications.
- Metal things, such as appliances like refrigerators, make it harder for signals to pass through since they are solid.
You won’t be able to exercise complete command over the development of your company, but you may take measures to limit the amount of interference you face.
3. Change the Channel
Are you aware that most WiFi routers use 11 channels to deliver Wi-Fi signals? You may either pre-set the particular channel or configure your router to pick a channel automatically. Both of these options are available to you.
Changing the channel is as simple as entering your WiFi router’s administrative interface, which is often accessed by typing the default IP address of your network into the address bar of a web browser.
Most WiFi routers are kept on their factory settings, Channel 1 or Channel 6. Even while they function in the vast majority of situations, if everyone uses the same channel, it might cause speeds to decrease.
There might be an excessive amount of data packets sent over the same channel, which could be the reason for the slow rates. Increasing the amount of available bandwidth on your network can be accomplished by switching to a WiFi channel that is less often utilized.
4. Use 5GHz and band steering
Because there are significantly more channels available in the 5GHz band compared to the 2.4GHz band, it makes logical to utilise dual-band APs that handle both bands. This makes it possible for Wi-Fi devices that are older to connect using the lower band, while dual-band devices that are more recent can connect using the higher band. Less congestion in the lower band normally translates to quicker connections, while devices operating in the upper band typically support larger data rates. Both of these factors contribute to a reduction in the amount of airtime that devices require to operate. Even while not all new Wi-Fi devices have dual-band, this is becoming increasingly common in today’s market, particularly among more expensive smartphones and tablets.
Consider utilising any band-steering features offered by the APs in addition to providing support for the 5GHz frequency. Instead of leaving the decision up to the device or the user, this might encourage or force dual-band devices to connect to the higher band.
There are a lot of access points that merely give you the option to enable or disable band steering, but some of them also give you the option to define signal thresholds. This is done so that dual-band devices that would have a stronger signal on 2.4GHz aren’t forced to utilise 5GHz. Because the 5GHz frequency has a lesser range than the lower band, this is valuable information. If your access point (AP) allows it, you should experiment with the signal-threshold option. This setting offers a decent balance between lowering congestion on the 2.4GHz band and providing users with the best signal possible.
5. Check that your Wi-Fi network can accommodate your requirements.
Due to the widespread adoption of Wi-Fi, many small and medium-sized businesses now offer complimentary Wi-Fi to their clientele.
Perhaps you own a small coffee shop frequented by those who work from home or a hair salon that allows customers to watch movies or listen to the music of their choice as they wait for their appointment.
These days, the vast majority of clients anticipate that you will offer free WiFi to them. You will, however, need to reconsider your strategy if you give your clients access to the same WiFi network that you, as a company, utilize for your operations.
It is not only a security concern to share your WiFi with your customers, but it may also lead to congestion on other people’s WiFi networks. Therefore, it is time that you examined the following alternatives to enhance your WiFi speeds if you want super fast WiFi and they are as follows:
Establish a Wi-Fi network for guests – From a safety point of view, separating your consumers into a WiFi network for guests is vital. Establishing a different network for guests is a simple process on most current routers. You may learn more about how to set up a WiFi network for guests on this page. The performance of your WiFi internet connection for your company might be prioritized if you have a separate Guest network that is isolated from the rest of the network.
Implement bandwidth allocation – many of today’s routers enable quality of service (QoS) (Quality of Service). You may give certain apps more importance to Quality of Service than others. Using QoS, you can make sure that non-priority bandwidth-hungry programs are not causing everyone else on the same WiFi network to suffer from sluggish WiFi rates. This is because QoS allows you to prioritize some applications over others.
Ensure your WiFi network is encrypted and protected with a strong password so no one can access it. If you set a strong password for your WiFi network, you can be sure that only authorized users will access it.
6. Boost Your Range with Wi-Fi Range Extenders
Even if you do manage to discover the ideal location, there is still a possibility that you will not have the level of protection that you want or desire. There are quite a few structures that are simply too large to accommodate a single router. Additionally, floor plans aren’t designed with Wi-Fi in mind, so there may be a difficult nook or corner that doesn’t get signal. This can be quite aggravating. This is a problem that can be solved with less effort than it would initially appear. In most cases, a repeater or range extender will be necessary to rectify the situation. They connect to the signal of the primary router and serve as an extension hub, which together allow for a greater range for your Wi-Fi network.
When setting up a repeater, you should adhere to the same placement guidelines as you did for your router. Any Wi-Fi device, including the repeater, is susceptible to the same interference that can affect other devices.
7. Save Bandwidth
In the end, the amount of data every second to which you have access is limited. It is vital to look for a supplier that has a more significant data stream at times, but there are a few items to check off the list first before taking that path. Users and applications are the two primary categories of data consumption that may be controlled by an administrator.
Managing users begins with ensuring their safety. To prevent unwanted users from accessing your Wi-Fi network, you must equip it with a robust password and encryption software. Businesses all across the world frequently experience internet connection slowdowns as a direct result of piggybacking. It is possible to stop the leak without employing any very good security measures.
If your company provides clients with access to Wi-Fi, the situation becomes somewhat more complicated. Having at least two entirely distinct networks is typically considered to be the best practise. Access granted to guests can be kept separate from mission-essential operations if desired. In this manner, having an excessive number of customers at one time will not hinder your capacity to run a successful firm.
Managing applications is also a very simple process. Applications that include video consume a disproportionate amount of bandwidth. Your best chance is to try to arrange the use of these apps during times when Wi-Fi is less in demand because higher resolution video increases demand. You have the option of using administrator software that will automatically slow down applications if they consume an excessive amount of bandwidth; however, you should be aware that this may have an effect on the performance of such applications.
8. Use WPA2 and/or WPA3
Even though almost all APs have moved on from supporting WEP security, the fact that it is unsafe is not a well-kept secret. It is dependent on the version that is utilised, but Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA) is a more secure protocol. It is important to keep in mind that the data rates on the wireless network are restricted to a maximum of 54 Mbps when the initial version of WPA is used because this was the maximum rate supported by the previous 802.11a and 802.11g standards. Only use the WPA2 and/or WPA3 security protocols to protect your network if you want to be sure you can benefit from the increased data speeds given by newer devices.
9. Turn off data rates and standards that are lower.
Although current Wi-Fi devices are capable of supporting transfer rates more than 1 Gbps, access points (APs) may only transmit at speeds as low as 1 Mbps in the 2.4 GHz band and 6 Mbps in the 5 GHz band depending on the kind of traffic. In general, the weaker the signal and the lower the data rate will be the more away you are from an access point (AP).
When sending regular data traffic, most APs send it at maximum data rates; however, when sending management or multicast traffic, such as the SSID beacons, they send it at a much lower rate than they do when sending regular data traffic. This is the case even if the network coverage and signals are excellent. By increasing either the minimum or the multicast data rate of the access points (APs), it is possible to coerce management traffic into being transmitted at a quicker pace, hence cutting down on total airtime.
This method can also assist devices in automatically connecting to more capable APs in a more expedient manner. For instance, the default behaviour of certain devices may be to wait until they have completely lost connection with the AP to which they are now attached before beginning to hunt for another AP to roam onto. This may not take place until the device travels a distance at which the signal and data rate drop to the level at which the AP can no longer support them. If you raise the minimum data rate, you will effectively reduce the maximum coverage area provided by each access point (AP), but you will simultaneously improve the performance of the network as a whole.
There is currently no recommended minimum data rate that should be used by any networks. This choice is determined, among other things, by the exceptional coverage provided by the network as well as the capabilities of its customers. Be aware, though, that if you deactivate lower data speeds, you may also effectively limit compatibility for earlier wireless protocols. This is something to keep in mind. For instance, if you disable all data rates at 11Mbps and lower, it is impossible to utilise any devices that comply with the 802.11b standard because the highest data rate allowed by that standard is 11Mbps.
You may safely stop support for 802.11b on the vast majority of networks; however, you should be careful about completely disabling the subsequent protocols, 802.11a and 802.11g, because their maximum transfer rates are only 54 Mbps. Therefore, you should think about deactivating the greatest data rates, which are those up to 48Mbps, because doing so will still enable you to use the outdated standards 802.11a/g/n.
10. Reduce the size of the packets and speed up the transmission times.
There are specific types of traffic that have specified packet sizes and transmission periods that may be decreased, which can assist enhance speeds and minimise airtime. These may be modified under the advanced wireless and radio settings of your access points, if such settings are available. Even while you might only see a marginal improvement in performance as a result of each individual change, the sum of such improvements might result in a discernible improvement.
- You can abbreviate the header information on packets by enabling Short Preamble Length if you don’t have any 802.11b clients connected to your network.
- When enabled, Short Slot Time can reduce the time needed for retransmissions.
- The time it takes to send packets decreases using a short guard interval, which might increase data throughput.
- Frame Aggregation enables the sending of several frames in a single transmission; nevertheless, its usage should be approached with caution because it may result in compatibility difficulties with Apple products.
11. Upgrade to Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax)
In order to boost the speed of management traffic and assist in forcing sluggish devices onto a better AP, disabling support for outdated wireless protocols can be of use. However, doing so results in a slowdown in data transfer speeds across the board, including for devices that adhere to more recent standards.
If you have any devices connected to your network that only support 802.11b, g, or n (Wi-Fi 4), you should seriously consider upgrading to at least dual-band Wi-Fi 5 (802.11ac), and ideally Wi-Fi 6, as soon as possible. Even while it is normally feasible to upgrade the Wi-Fi that is built into a laptop or desktop computer, adding a USB wireless adapter is a solution that is both quicker and easier to use.
If your access points are older than Wi-Fi 5, you have followed the recommendations up until this point, and you are still having difficulty with speeds, updating your access points is something you should consider. If you are considering Wi-Fi 6 access points (APs), it is possible that you will need to make modifications to the components of the network. Because of this, you will want to verify the specifications of your other network gear, such as your router, switches, and PoE infrastructure, before installing Wi-Fi 6 APs.
Always keep in mind that airtime is extremely important while working with wireless networks. Although you might not always desire exceptionally fast Wi-Fi, it could be necessary to decrease airtimes and increase speeds in order to support networks with strong or dense usage.
If the coverage on your network is satisfactory, you should first give the strategies outlined in this article a try before adding or modifying the placements of APs. There may be a cause for the poor performance that needs to be addressed, or there may be alternative methods to improve performance with very straightforward adjustments to the settings.
Because there are so many factors involved with Wi-Fi, it is sometimes simple to place blame on it for faults that are actually the result of more widespread network problems. For instance, if the wireless connection is sluggish, the underlying problem may be with the internet connection, or it may even be a misconfiguration on the access points (APs), such as a low bandwidth limit.