Optimizing WLAN Networks for Coverage

There are a slew of issues facing Wi-Fi networks today. Stuck access points, sticky clients, wireless LAN controller software issues, and overall poor management of the air are some examples. 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!

Here are the steps:

  • 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 additional 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. But be considerate of cell size and power levels! You might need a site survey tool to nail it down.
  • Consider your actual building. Radio frequencies have a difficult time traveling through dense materials, like brick and concrete. Signals also reflect off metal surfaces, causing performance issues. Depending on your environment, you may need to get creative with your wireless access point topology.
  • To increase Wi-Fi 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 please be careful.

For Serious Wi-Fi Geeks Only

Our founder and Chief Innovation Officer, Veli-Pekka Ketonen "VP", speaks at the Wireless LAN Professionals Conference nearly every year - sharing his RF research and insights.

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We'll send you a Wi-Fi performance sensor that you can connect to your WLAN. It communicates with our Sapphire Cloud and starts gathering data. For organizations that meet minimum requirements.

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