The most common wireless hot topic is security where encryption and guest access are concerned. While these are important for production deployment, often times the equipment and physical characteristics of the Wi-Fi environment is overlooked.
Here are the five most common factors overlooked in wireless networks.
· Wireless Infrastructure – What works at home is not intended to work commercially. Production environments require much greater levels of dependability, availability, and mobility. The basic rule is anything available at the department or office supply stores, is not intended for commercial use. What they lack is a more rugged dependability, roaming capability, and a single point of configuration.
· Placement of Access Ports – Take the high ground. Whether 802.11b/g(2.4 GHz) or 802.11a (5.0 GHz), antennas need a good vantage point to effectively ensure Wi-Fi coverage. Depending on the environment that a Wi-Fi network is in the signals will propagate differently. For instance liquids and dense paper products will soak in and dampen radio signals, where metals will block and reflect. Simply placing access points in the middle of each open area may well not be adequate.
· Channel Separation – A case of selective hearing. If you turned on a radio and instead of hearing your favorite station, found yourself listening to all of the stations at once, it would be very difficult to filter out just the programming that you intended to hear. In a multi access port environment, mobile devices can filter out anything sent from neighboring access ports through channel separation. Below is a diagram of 802.11b/g channel separation.
Only three channels (represented in red) are able to be simultaneously used and remain completely separated. These frequencies correspond to channels 1, 6, and 11.
· Antenna Selection – Fitting a square into a round hole. Omni-directional antennas are the simplest to plan and deploy.
With a limited number of channels however, omni antennas can be difficult to deploy in environments that are more complex than a simple four wall rectangular shaped building. When dealing with troublesome Wi-Fi elements, (metal, liquid) directional or patch antennas offer coverage that is far more dependable.
·· Interference - Messed up like channel 8. Television before the remote control have few channel choices, in my area channel 8 seemed worse than just snowy. And the phrase was born. Interference in the 2.4 or 5.0 GHz spectrums causes Wi-Fi networks to appear much the same. Below is a spectrum reading depicting a clean network and also the effect of interference, with blue being clean and white being the worst interference.
Clean Wi-Fi Network
With so much interference as shown here, the network is effectively silenced and completely unusable.