March 15, 2023
Ryan Whomes
No Comments

Bad WiFi Can Make Any Task A Struggle - Here Are 3 Proactive Ways To Create A Better WiFi Environment

Check the placement of your access points

Access point placement is essential to making sure your WiFi is reaching areas of resource, however that doesn’t mean that more access points equals better signal.

It’s common sense that if you are too far away from an access point then you’re going to receive weak to no signal, so logic would surely state that more access points means a better signal? Well, not entirely. Too many access points can cause a crowded airspace, meaning excessive radio frequencies and therefore a higher chance of signal loss. An average user may interpret this as a slow, patchy, internet connection.

A map showing WiFi access points positioned on a floor plan

The image above shows a floor plan of a building with far too many access points. Areas in green are areas with no interference with other access points, the areas in red display areas where interference takes place. So what can we do to fix this?

oWc4eFO0qcMHGp5TptoD9FIeX20SKYL5F9sFLVzjM I0vBdh5fzXGx7lMggSLnNORy tsS cOOyjexif3gsxxp2kEKgdYArW2h2GQ9hzqOfHoMMXy7hwxkQ4 1mxrbcY8igvIOuQqygqzuAO6ENH2Kvd5y2q7 ImlKRny8ewid9a147h0s aTZ65BaM6

By adjusting access point placement and reducing the number of access points we can achieve a much more viable solution.

Making sure there is no channel interference

Wireless frequencies used for WiFi come in 2 main bands, these are 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz (there is also 6Ghz which is slowly being adopted, however it’s not yet widely used). Within these bands there are a limited number of channels available for usage. With 2.4Ghz there are 13  channels (11 for North America and 14 for Japan), however only 3 of these are actually usable. 5Ghz alternatively has a total of 24 usable channels.

When we’re talking about usable channels we’re talking about channels which do not overlap with other channels, as doing so would cause interference. When nearby radios are both using the same channels they are essentially talking over each other, meaning signals get disturbed and distorted. With this in mind, it’s therefore more efficient for an access point to broadcast on a channel which does not match its neighbours.

But does this just mean as long as the channel is different then I’m all good? Unfortunately not.

Depending on the width of the channel, the channel will likely overlap to a certain degree with channels with similar frequencies. Taking 2.4Ghz as an example, channel 1 will occupy the space of channels 1, 2 and 3. Channel 6 will occupy the space of 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8. Channel 11 will occupy the space of channels 9, 10, 11, 12 and 13. So with that in mind, channels 1, 6 and 11 are the only channels usable as they do not overlap with one another. To better understand this concept, the diagram below displays the spread of each channel.

IzpK9 XGEzWhu qmknYM6GBJfT7MRwwk1JqdGPl3sPQ1jr6 ADKY4EqS8vcfe30 Zna
By Michael Gauthier, Wireless Networking in the Developing WorldKelleyCook, image improvementsWhidou, French translation - This file was derived from: 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi channels (802.11b,g WLAN).png by Michael Gauthier, CC BY-SA 3.0,

5Ghz is much the same, just when you have 24 non-overlapping channels to work with rather than just 3 it makes things a lot easier to plan.

So with this information in mind, it’s worth checking that your wireless networks are operating on non-overlapping channels. If you don’t have immediate access to your wireless network's admin controls to view this, there are simple mobile apps such as ‘WiFiAnalyzer’ which can display the channels of nearby frequencies.

Ensure other devices aren’t causing interference

As mentioned previously, too many radio waves in the air can cause disturbances to your wireless network. This doesn’t just apply to frequencies from other WiFi products however.

Bluetooth is a common methodology of wireless transmission which has been around for years. Whilst it is brilliant at what it does, Bluetooth also operates around the 2.4Ghz spectrum, meaning it can easily interfere with 2.4Ghz WiFi frequencies.

Walkie-Talkies also commonly use the 2.4Ghz frequency. It’s important to be aware of this when deploying WiFi in an environment using such technologies. Other devices such as certain baby monitors also operate in a very similar manner; it’s something to take into consideration when in a home environment.

Most modern and well looked after microwaves shouldn’t cause issues for WiFi, they are designed to keep radio frequencies within the microwave in order to not cause any harm to humans. That being said, microwaves can develop leaks, whilst the leakage isn’t likely to be enough to cause anyone any harm, they can still be enough to disturb your WiFi. If you are noticing your WiFi having issues around the kitchen then it might be well worth replacing your microwave.

All of these devices are worth keeping in mind when planning your WiFi network, you don’t want to get caught out by the office computer’s bluetooth or a kitchen’s microwave!

Well there you have it, 3 quick fire ways to improve your wireless network.

For any additional questions feel free to contact us and speak to one of our in house wireless experts.

linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram