Big things are afoot for Wi-Fi in the coming year. Its next evolution – Wi-Fi 6 – comes with the usual promise that it will be faster, stronger, and more flexible than ever before. But despite these and past improvements, some systems can be notoriously unreliable. There are plenty of obstacles that a signal must overcome before it reaches your device. The good news is that users can optimize and manage their wireless experience to make sure it’s there when needed.
You may be familiar with the phenomenon of optimal versus actual Wi-Fi strength. Under optimal, ideal conditions, your wireless will be capable of a certain speed and performance level. The real world is rarely optimal, however, so it’s uncommon for many users to get the most from their Wi-Fi.
For example, here in the U.S., the typical download and upload speeds over mobile are 27.33 Mbps and 8.63 Mbps, respectively. You can use this speed test to see how close you are to the average. If you’re below it, what’s getting in the way?
Overcrowded Wi-Fi channels are a big issue affecting performance. Multiple users/devices sharing the same channels can slow service to a crawl regardless of the potential speeds your provider may advertise. The main goal of Wi-Fi 6, which will be introduced in 2019, is easing the drag of signal congestion in a “user-dense” environment.
Your environment can hamper signal strength if you have doors, furniture, or walls between you and the signal source. The closer you can be to your router, the better your reception will be. In a home or small business set-up, for example, the best possible solution is to establish your router at a center point in the building; that way all rooms have an improved chance of a workable signal. Larger set-ups have more routers, of course, as well as signal boosters.
Much like other users jockey for signal space, the appliances around you may be interfering with your Wi-Fi’s local radio environment. If you turn on a microwave and watch your signal sink, it’s a sign that switching wireless channels might be in order.
Monitoring the QoS (Quality of Service) on your router helps prioritize which applications dominate your signal. If you make a lot of video calls but find the program lagging, you can tell your router to put that program first above others. If people use a lot of streaming services, those can take precedence.
It’s a common oversight for consumers to get their router(s), set it up, and then presume it’s always up to date. The fact is, your Internet provider will have firmware updates available for you to download to your router. Netgear users, for example, saw almost 200 available updates of this nature during 2017 alone!
These updates keep routers current and address the vital issue of router security. Wi-Fi security not only protects personal details, it means network managers can lock off a router from unauthorized individuals trying to use the signal – whom also slow it down.
The update procedure differs depending on your equipment, so contact your provider for guidance if you’re uncertain on how to proceed. The router security link above offers some advice on updating the most popular routers.
Staying current with your hardware as well as your software and firmware is also important. A poor or frequently-interrupted signal could be a sign that a router is aging poorly. Buying a modern model could lead to signal improvement.
Large businesses and organizations such as hospitals have a lot more users, a much more complex technological set-up, and many more barriers to achieving a strong, consistent signal. This is why it’s essential to have a troubleshooting and monitoring service in place to make sure vital devices stay connected – one that quickly clarifies exactly what’s going wrong and why.
At 7Signal, we believe in the maxim that you can’t improve what you can’t measure. We see things from the client’s point of view, giving them critical visibility that enables them to know their network inside and out.
We’ve helped our clients tackle many unique and challenging Wi-Fi scenarios, from high device demand to needed updates and interference. The cloud-based performance software lets businesses monitor and manage their wireless experience. Ongoing analytical data means you’re always aware of your Wi-Fi’s health and performance; a powerful way to stay one step ahead of wireless issues and maintain productivity.
7Signal is the Wi-Fi company dedicated to your business growth. Our cloud-based software lets our clients analyze their wireless performance to optimize its health and identify issues before productivity is lost. For more information on our comprehensive solutions, products, and services please call 216-777-2900 or take advantage of our free trial.