Wireless Connectivity at the Office
Anyone who has ever tried to use their phone without an internet connection knows that, with the exception of some games, very little actually works. This phenomenon translates to laptops and tablets as well, and a spotty wireless connection can spell the death of productivity both at home and in the workplace. Here are some tips to keep your devices happily connected, and your day running smoothly:
- Avoid Interference. Wireless interference has fallen out of public attention recently as legislation and wireless standards reduce the chance of a device unwittingly jamming the signal of others. However, human error can still cause problems, and incorrectly setting up and maintaining a wireless network will result in signal ruining interference. An improperly configured wifi station, or an incompatible signal from another person or business, can cause signal issues in the same way that two walkie-talkies can accidentally intercept signals from other devices or generate feedback between themselves. Avoiding this is generally quite easy when setting up an office or home work environment, and there are experts who can help you navigate more challenging sections. Make sure you talk to other wifi operators in the area, and configure your settings to operate at peak efficiency given the available circumstances (there are online tutorials that can help with this). Interference can also come from natural structures, and other pieces of electrical hardware. Trees, hills, and bodies of water can all negatively effect the efficiency of your wifi network. A number of competing frequencies in one room or office, such as microwaves, bluetooth devices, and wireless cameras can all negatively impact the quality of your network.
- Signal strength and signal quality are different. Having a strong, high quality, signal is critical for reliable access to wifi. To achieve a strong wifi signal, remove as much interference as possible and purchasing quality hardware. Creating and maintaining a quality network signal is a bit more complicated. The first thing to consider is the number of people that will be using the signal at a given time. Most networks automatically assign each user an equal share of the network capacity when they begin accessing the system (although this setting can be changed) and this can drastically reduce the speed of your network if it isn’t correctly planned for. Keep in mind that if one person is using the network, they have 100% of the network’s strength. If another person begins using the network, the original user is reduced to 50% of the network’s strength. Another way to ensure the quality of your home and business network signal is by securing it. Unauthorized access to your network poses security threats to the computers using the network, but it also slows down the network speed and reduces the productivity of anyone accessing the network. Finally, choosing the type of signal that will work best for your workspace is important. If your office is open concept with very few cubical walls, choosing a 5GHz signal is best. It offers more data transfer, but can easily be slowed by obstacles. If you have a closed concept office, you can either place a large number of access points around the office and run a 5GHz signal, or place fewer access points and run a 2.4GHz signal, which isn’t easily slowed by obstacles, but offers slower data transfer.
Setting up your wifi network properly the first time is critical to avoid costly delays, slower service, and missed productivity later. It will also increase your security, and give you more confidence while using the internet for the countless tasks required while running a business.