For many companies facing demand from employees and customers alike to have connectivity access at all times, prioritizing WiFi performance is critical. Complicating matters is that it’s difficult to predict the performance of WiFi because there are so many variables involved. From operating conditions to application traffic demands and settings of WiFi products, network operators often struggle to pinpoint the source when there’s a performance issue.
Fortunately, from the planning stage to troubleshooting, there are steps that can be taken to improve WiFi performance. While some companies may choose to continually upgrade their WiFi equipment and Ethernet switches, this approach is often costly and doesn’t yield the desired results. Instead, companies can improve performance from the inside out, with three key stages available for taking action:
Planning: There are many steps that can be taken to optimize WiFi performance, even before the company has settled on a particular set of equipment or its installation. For instance, rather than planning for coverage only, companies can focus on Quality of Service (QoS) for the end user, as well as capacity and latency.
It’s also important to test individual access points and how they’ll handle realistic operating conditions, as well as to test roaming, load balancing and band steering. It’s critical to test the network extensively for capacity and management, independent of WiFi performance.
Post-installation: Generally, testing of WiFi systems following an installation tends to highlight gaps in equipment performance. There’s a wide variability in user behavior and compatibility, so once the WiFi is in use, these needs are usually identified. There’s also a risk that you’ll find inappropriate or defective AP wiring that impacts WiFi performance.
It’s a good idea to do some alpha testing before allowing users onto the WiFi systems so that voice quality and roaming behavior can be evaluated with analytic tools to determine any necessary adjustments.
Troubleshooting: Ensuring a high level of WiFi performance requires software and hardware tools that can both gather data and analyze it to determine the source of any issues. A good set of tools will test radio frequency, wired and wireless network behavior, and when needed, the wide area network (WAN). Gathering data during installation is helpful, because the more data the system has logged, the easier it becomes to detect anomalies.
Even when users insist that the problem is wireless, it’s a good idea to test and examine the rest of the network value chain to see if there are other factors impacting wireless performance.
You’re not likely to hear that your WiFi performance is meeting the needs of your customer or employee; you’ll only hear about it when there’s an interruption in connectivity. With the right preventative measures, you can ensure that WiFi is rarely a topic of discussion.
Tailwind provides high-speed broadband connectivity with on-site certified technician support to ensure your WiFi performance is so good that you’ll never hear about it from employees or customers. Contact us today for more information.