Over the last decade, a strong wifi signal has become a core aspect of any business infrastructure. Whether you run an accounting office, manufacturing plant, retail location and everything in between wifi is crucial for both on-site employees and visiting business partners to access the internet on laptops and mobile devices. Unfortunately, not every business wifi network is strong enough or accessible from every corner of the building. If your business location suffers from a weak wireless signal or dead spots, try these six solutions to improve your building-wide wifi.
1) Update Old Equipment
Check the age of your wireless router. Many businesses install a wireless network and then leave the infrastructure in place for years. While the hardware may still work, routers do have a lifespan and will become less effective over time. The new equipment will also benefit from recent advances in wireless technology. A new router with multiple antennas will be able to send signal farther and possibly overcome dead spots more efficiently. If your router is more than five years old, consider an upgrade.
2) Strategically Place Your Router
The placement of your wifi router also matters a great deal. Many businesses have placed their wifi router in a cabinet or locked in the network equipment closet, but this also locks away the source of your signal. While adjusting the antennas can improve your signal to a small degree, the location has a far greater influence on your signal strength and breadth. The wireless signal flows outward and down in a wide cone from the source.
This means that the best place for your router is in the center of the facility and as high as you can place it. In a small office, the top of a tall central cabinet may be the best location. In a larger facility, consider mounting your wifi router on the ceiling in the center of the building. Much like a security camera, this gives the signal more access to your facility and the wires can be tucked behind the ceiling tiles.
3) Signal Boosters and Additional Routers
In many situations, your business facility is just too large and structurally complex for a single wifi router to provide all the signal you need. Signal will become weaker the further you get from the router's antennas, and dead spots occur when walls and equipment block the signal.
The solution to this is merely to add more transmitters to your wireless network infrastructure. Signal boosters and additional wireless routers will provide more locations for the signal to come from. A conference room with a bad signal can be equipped with its router to solve the problem, and a booster will help to push signal across your grounds or over a large open area.
4) Wireless Network Security
If your business is in a busy location, a weak signal is not always the cause of poor wireless performance. If your wifi network is unsecured, many non-employees in your business may be accessing the network for free and using up bandwidth. This can cause slow connection that mimics weak signal.
There are two solutions to this problem. First, secure your wifi network. A simple password (or password change) will keep strangers from using up the bandwidth you need for business. You can also provide a bandwidth-limited guest wifi network so that visitors without the password can check their emails but won't' be able to tie up your resources with high-demand internet use.
5) Manage Your Bandwidth Demands
Bandwidth issues can also come from within your staff. Employees may be starting large downloads or streaming videos on their breaks without realizing that this has a negative impact on everyone's wireless performance. With skilled management of your network settings, it is possible to prioritize specific functions and devices, so that standard business procedures get the lion's share of your wireless resources without interruption. Non-essential processes will take secondary priority, and only they will experience performance lag if the network is in high demand.
6) Select an Uncontested Wireless Channel
Finally, configure your wifi network to broadcast on a channel that has less competition. Wifi routers, by default, tend to all choose the same channel but if too many separate networks try to use this channel close together, it will cause interference and weak signal for all. This is a particularly common problem in office buildings that provide space for multiple architectures.
Reset your router to automatically choose a channel that is not in such high demand and enjoy the full signal strength your router can provide without interference.
The wireless signal strength of your business can have a severe impact on both efficiency and satisfaction. Whether you're struggling with dead spots, consistent signal, or area coverage, we can help. Let our network experts help you hunt down the exact cause of your insufficient wireless performance and implement the solutions you need. If you'd like a consultation on how to improve your business wireless signal, contact us today!