When Coverage Isn't Everything: Ditching Your Outdated Wi-Fi Designs
PUBLISHED: 11:12 04 May 2016 | UPDATED: 11:12 04 May 2016
When your Wi-Fi loses steam and your connection stalls, what is the one thing you look for first? The Wi-Fi icon, of course!
We instantly check how many “bars” we have and then wonder why our connection is crawling at a snail’s pace, even when all five (or in some cases, four) bars are lit up in bright green.
The Cabling Company, based in Witney, Oxfordshire say the reality is that Wi-Fi signal strength isn’t always the best gauge of network performance. Even network administrators struggle with this contradiction. Almost all administrators use signal strength or “heat maps” to make their initial design for new Wi-Fi installs, and there’s no denying that this is a necessary first step, But building a Wi-Fi network with just signal strength as the primary metric is highly inadequate in today’s mobile-centric world.
Sure, the conventional “coverage-oriented” approach is a great design principle for low-density wireless environments. But as the concentration of Wi-Fi devices increases, signal strength soon means next to nothing. This creates an obstacle to quality service when we craft our networks using outmoded concepts of what device density actually looks like. The phrase “high density” commonly invokes visuals of 90,000 rabid fans screaming at a pop concert, or noisy expo centers packed with conference guests. Meanwhile, we tend to assume that smaller facilities like classrooms and offices fall under the category of “low density” spaces by default.
Yet this conventional wisdom is starting to fray, due to evolving patterns of device usage like the explosion of mobile apps and the spread of BYOD. Today’s workplaces, schools and other Wi-Fi reliant organizations now find themselves overrun with laptops, tablets, smartphones, wireless printers, smart watches and even more Wi-Fi enabled devices – all of them attempting to connect to the local network. That “low density” 50-person office that used to support exactly 50 devices is now tasked to support nearly 3-4 times that number, simply because today’s employees use far more wireless machines.
For more information on Wireless Networks and/or to arrange a WIFI survey please call our sales team on 0845 11 66 257 or visit our website www.thecablingcompany.com