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How to prevent WiFi issues from interrupting your business

Lily Howell May 7, 2021 9:26:06 AM
selective focus of black plugged router on white table and businessman sitting on sofa

In this modern world, we take utilities for granted. The light turns on when we flip the switch, water comes out of the tab when we turn it, and our devices are connected to the internet when we turn them on. It's only when these things fail that we realise how dependent we are on them.

It would be annoying if our homes internet for a few days, but it wouldn’t necessarily cause a major issue. However, if the same were to happen to your business, you’d be in big trouble. Even temporary outages can cost thousands.

Internet downtime causes significant damage to businesses everywhere, impacting not only employee productivity but client communications as well. Today the corporate network supports nearly every critical workflow of a business, from email, video conferencing and VoIP telephone communications to cloud platforms and database access, allowing even a small service interruption to disrupt a company’s entire operations.

The cost of downtime

As a result, any amount of internet downtime is accompanied by significant financial losses. Gartner Research estimates that a business will typically lose $5,600 (£4025) for every minute of an outage, depending on characteristics such as the industry/vertical they are in, or their risk tolerance. This extrapolates to an average of well over $300K (£215K) per hour, a loss that most companies simply can’t afford.

But these types of outages don’t have to impact you in the future. Here are a few tips on how to fix your wifi problems and protect your business.

Control which devices use Wifi

A simple wifi solution for small businesses is it A wireless connection isn’t as fast and reliable as a wired connection. When you set up a wireless network, you should expect a bit of a drop in speed – no problem for people with fast connections, but for those with a slow network, this isn’t ideal. To avoid this, try connecting your desk phones/PCs directly via Ethernet cable where possible to take the strain off the Wifi.

Upgrade to something better suited

Sometimes your business wifi solution just isn’t suited to your business needs. If this is the case, you should upgrade to something better. Business Internet availability is evolving at an impressive pace, and you need to go with what suits your organisation.

Check that your Access Points aren’t interfering with one another

One of the biggest interference issues with Wifi networks is the networks themselves. If a wireless network hasn’t been properly designed and configured, the AP signals might be interfering with each other. If you have too little or no overlap between the AP cells, you’ll get bad signal spots in the network. If you have too much overlap between AP cells in either band, it can cause interference and other issues. You want the APs located so clients keep roaming to the best AP for that location, and so they don’t interfere with one other’s signals.

Tip: Label the location of your Access Points

When installing APs, it’s important to take stock of where they are placed. Be sure to label each AP and write down their location or mark the spots on a floor map. This can prevent the headache of tracking down the APs later down the line, and it's doubly helpful for someone else if you're not around. Just remember to document any changes to the AP locations.

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Avoid areas of interference

When designing a wireless network, you need to generate a picture of any areas that may affect your Wifi network’s performance. Here are just a few of the things that can hinder your signal:

  • Physical obstructions: There are some surprising factors that can prevent your wireless signal from having its optimum reach and performance, including building materials.
  • Other wireless networks: Another major influence on the performance of your wireless network is that of other networks in the local area – such as from a neighbouring business or local hotspot.
  • Electronic gadgets and other devices: There are many electronic gadgets and devices that can interfere with the frequency of your wireless network. Some of which are Wifi-based devices such as cordless phones, microwaves, satellite dishes and alarm systems.
  • Distance: No matter if your users are hotel guests or office workers, being too far from a router, causing poor connection, leads to frustration.
  • Technical settings: If your business installed its network a while back and it nothings been updated for some time, then any firmware may be out of date – and this can slow down performance for the end-user.

Consider investing in a backup connection

Implementing a backup Internet in your place of business is the most reliable way to protect yourself from slowness and outages. As we know, Internet slowdowns and outages kill productivity and cause frustration - with a backup link, you can prevent this from happening. Choosing diverse connections in the event of failure provides extra protection for your business, so you can stay focused on what matters.

Get good coverage with a Wifi survey

A good Wifi business solution for better coverage is a Wifi survey. In fact, most of the points we’ve covered in this piece can be fixed with a Wifi survey, but what exactly can a survey achieve?

A wireless site survey, sometimes called an RF site survey or wireless survey is the process of planning and designing a wireless network, to provide a wireless solution that will deliver the required wireless coverage, data rates, network capacity, roaming capability, and quality of service.

There are three types of wireless site surveys passive, active, and predictive.

  • A passive site survey tool listens to existing access points and other signal sources for signal strength, interference, and access point (AP) coverage. Passive surveys are often performed when upgrading existing wireless networks such as adding additional APs.
  • In an active site survey, the survey WiFi adapter is associated with the APs. This allows the gathering of detailed information such as network traffic, throughput packet loss, and data rates. An active site survey is often performed in conjunction with a passive site survey at the start of new wireless network deployment.
  • A predictive site survey is performed without any type of field measurements. It uses RF planning software tools that can predict the wireless coverage of the APs. Predictive site surveys are used when the site or building is not yet built and are helpful for budgeting purposes.

The goal of all wireless site surveys is to provide detailed information that addresses the site’s radio frequency coverage. Before implementing or attempting to optimise a wireless network, you’ll want to understand all the possible areas of interference, AP placements, power considerations, and wiring requirements that are needed. A wireless site survey can provide all this information and more, so you have the tools needed to design, implement, and optimise your wireless network.

If you’re interested in running a Wifi survey for your business, get in touch with one of our friendly experts!

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