How often do you hear “WiFi is slow again today” or maybe even the dreaded “the WiFi just sucks.”? If your customers’ wireless networks are under-performing or haven’t been reviewed recently, maybe it’s time for a W-Fi Tune-Up. Check out these five tips on doing a checkup for wireless networks.
1. The Need for Speed
If your customers’ WLAN network is underperforming, they may have legacy equipment installed. When older 802.11a/b/g client devices and access points are replaced, they can realize up to 30 percent performance improvement. Even 802.11n access points can be upgraded to the present-day standard of 802.11ac – these new devices will provide the best performance. If you can also move your customers away from the congested 2.4 GHz and leverage the 5 GHz band, they’ll see better channel reuse, resulting in a speed boost for their wireless network.
2. SSID Consolidation
How many SSIDs are on your customers’ wireless network? If there are five or more, consider eliminating some of these SSIDs and consolidate them using VLANs or mobile device management. If possible, try to keep only three SSIDs (corp, guest, and voice). Eliminating SSIDs will reduce the amount of overhead on the wireless network and help provide higher throughput.
3. Capacity or Coverage?
Wireless networks were initially designed so that an office or warehouse space could have sufficient wireless coverage. Today, capacity must be considered with wireless networks. Industry experts agree that users have on average three mobile devices (smart phone, laptop, tablet, or wearable device). Universities are beginning to use a metric of seven wireless devices per student. If your customers’ wireless networks were designed for coverage only, the needs of higher capacity may be creating performance issues on the network.
4. Controllers “Under Control”
Hardware device controllers that manage wireless networks have hundreds of settings—are they configured and adjusted properly? Does your customers’ controllers have the latest stable software and firmware installed? Check out the best practices for the controller vendor or even consider contacting a vendor systems expert to come on site to look over your customers’ controller settings to ensure the wireless network is a top performer.
5. Is it the WiFi, or the Client?
WLAN experts agree that 80 percent of reported WiFi problems are “client-related.” The vast majority of WiFi problems aren’t directly related to the wireless network at all, but determining what is causing wireless issues isn’t always easy to do. It’s a good idea to troubleshoot from the bottom to the top of the OSI layer. Assuming WiFi (Layers 1-2) isn’t the issue, start with Layer 3 – is there a VLAN or access switch issue? Then move through Layer 4 (UDP or TCP) and even check to see if there’s an application that’s creating a Layer 7 issue. Have the latest drivers for user wireless network cards been installed (a common client-side issue)? Does the wireless network have sensors installed to monitor client device performance? Even though a client issue may not be a direct wireless concern, providing a satisfying user wireless experience should be the goal whenever you review your customers’ wireless networks.
Speed, capacity, SSIDs, controllers, and clients – these are key areas that should be checked out to make sure your customers’ wireless networks are performing at peak levels. With wireless becoming “mission-critical” in many networks, maybe it’s time for a review and tune-up of their WiFi network.
Though WiFi is a powerful part of mobile solutions, Tech Data offers a comprehensive suite of client and mobility offerings for enterprises and SMBs. Reach out to us and discover the best ways to reach your chosen markets with client and mobile devices and services at http://www.techdata.com/mobilesolutions/.