There are a slew of issues facing Wi-Fi networks today. Whether it be stuck access points, WLAN controller software issues or overall poor management of the air, below are some simple Wi-Fi optimization steps a certified wireless network administrator can try in order to increase coverage.
Often forgotten but incredibly important – you must take baseline measurements. The key performance indicators most closely aligned with the end-user Wi-Fi experience are throughput, packet loss, latency, jitter, success rates…and complaints!
Look closely at the configuration of clients and the applications they use. Certain devices and workstations accessing certain applications in your environment may have large bandwidth requirements. These bandwidth hogs can adversely affect everybody else’s Wi-Fi performance. A possible WLAN optimization is to add access points to the high-bandwidth areas.
Look at the physical size of your area. Some access points might just be too far away from where clients are trying to access them. Consider moving them or adding more.
Consider your actual building. Radio frequencies have a difficult time traveling through dense materials, like concrete. Signals also reflect off of metal surfaces, causing performance issues. Depending on your environment, you may need to get creative with your wireless access point topology.
To increase WLAN coverage, it’s a common practice to increase the power output of the access point. But too much power can adversely affect the signal to noise ratio, thereby degrading performance, so be careful.
Open up more 5GHz channels. However, be aware that the 5GHz frequencies do not travel as far as the lower 2.4GHz frequencies.
WLAN Pro Summit Presentation
Download Veli-Pekka Ketonen’s presentation on Advanced Wi-Fi analysis from the WLAN Pro Summit in Austin, TX.