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Find Out Why Your Wi-Fi Won’t Cooperate

Find Out Why Your Wi-Fi Won’t Cooperate

Wi-Fi is seen as an increasingly important feature in the office - and for good reason. How many of your meetings rely on members being able to connect a device to the network? How frequently do you find yourself pulling something up on your mobile device? 

The fact of the matter is that the Internet has become too entwined in business processes for Wi-Fi to be considered anything less than a necessity. So the question now is how well does it work?

We’ve all encountered (or have known of someone who has) a “dead zone” in the middle of an important call. You know, those seemingly random areas that your phone loses cellular reception - for a while, nothing was more annoying when it came to our mobile phones - Verizon shaped an entire advertising campaign around it in 2009, spoofing horror movie tropes with threatening tales of dropped calls and lost reception.

The Problems with Wi-Fi

We’ve all experienced some issues with Wi-Fi, whether we are in our home or the workplace. In some areas, it works great, while others... not so much. Some rooms or corners may hardly get a signal at all. There may be times that a perfectly good Wi-Fi signal seems to slow to a crawl, similarly hampering your team’s ability to accomplish much of anything.

There are a variety of factors that can contribute to this. You may just not have enough capacity to support all of the devices connected to the signal, your router(s) is undersized, or you need to upgrade your Internet service itself. However, a very common issue is the simple fact that it isn’t difficult to interrupt a Wi-Fi signal, and within your office space there are plenty of potential obstructions to interfere with your signal.

What Can Interfere with My Wi-Fi?

Depending on your circumstances and environment, different factors may influence your business’ Wi-Fi. There isn’t a one-size-fits-all setup for wireless networks.

Interference from Other Devices
Other equipment and infrastructure can let out signals that don’t get along with Wi-Fi signals - including cell phones, LCD monitors, and the microwave in the break room. Even power cables can discharge enough interference if the voltage within them is high enough. Shifting the positioning of these devices, or applying shielding to them may help to improve transmission. Also keeping your access point elevated as high as you can, can give it cleared path by reducing potential blockage from other devices.

Distance
A wireless network only reaches so far, thanks to attenuation, or the weakening of a signal over great distances. The more “oomph” that a system loses, the poorer the connection will be. Some fixes include adding additional routers or using signal repeaters.

Competition for Bandwidth
Wi-Fi routers separate their signals into different “channels” to communicate with different devices. Typically, only one device can talk to each channel at a time. To prevent this from interfering with your use of the device, you should try to spread your devices evenly across channels so there is minimal overlap.

Your Building Itself
Metal scaffolding, concrete floors, and lead paint remnants can all create connection issues for your business. Each of these materials (and many others) can be difficult for a Wi-Fi signal to penetrate, interfering with the signal quality. Relocate your routers to try and minimize any physical interference from structures.

Does Wi-Fi Really Matter All That Much?

Granted, all this may sound like I’m making a big deal out of a slight annoyance, but a poor Wi-Fi connection has the potential to make a big impact to your business. In fact, poor or unstable Wi-Fi is a big cause of Shadow IT in which team members bring in their own wireless router in an attempt to be productive. When they connect this unauthorized device to the network, they often break security protocols, risking exposing your network to intrusion.

Consider the prospect of bringing in a client for a meeting, only to have that client not be able to connect. Pretty embarrassing. I know a business owner who came to Datalyst after exactly that happened - this client even lost connection themselves during the meeting.

Survey as a Solution to Wireless Service Issues

We can offer you exactly what we offered this client, and many others: a wireless site survey.

Our wireless site surveys can help you identify how to best set up your networking equipment, based on the unique setup of your office - accounting for the span your network needs to reach, how many people will need access, and how secure it needs to be. 

Datalyst is one of the few managed service providers to deliver this kind of insight, so don’t pass up the opportunity to make the most of your wireless network at no cost! To learn more, visit our Hardware Services page, for a variety of hardware, cabling and wireless solutions. Reach out to us directly by calling (774) 213-9701.

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