All Wireless Networks Are Not Created Equal

All Wireless Networks Are Not Created Equal

All wireless networks are not the same. Speed, stability, and range can vary wildly from one setup to another. It’s made more confusing by the alphabet soup router manufacturers throw at you. Just buying the latest and greatest wireless router without proper configuration and planning will not provide the desired results.

Built for Speed or Stability?

For most businesses range and stability is more important than speed. It has been our experience that power line extenders, wireless range extenders, and wireless repeaters don’t work well at all. Dental PC attacks the range problem, with coverage, multiple access points that can cover your entire office. To solve the stability issues, Dental PC uses access points that support Zero-Handoff Roaming. What is Zero-Handoff Roaming? The basic premise of Zero-Handoff is that wireless access points in your office appear as a single Access Point from the perspective of the client, thus eliminating disconnection.

Variables that Effect Wireless Speed

Wireless Speed is the elephant in the room, there are so many variables involved, distance to the router, number of antennas, band support, spatial streams, congestion, and channels to name a few. Distance to the router is the simplest variable to control. The closer to the wireless router you are the better the speed. Beyond that, the number of Tx/Rx antennas, spatial streams, and Band Support by both router and client make a huge difference. Just because you buy the latest AC1900 wireless router doesn’t mean your 5 year old laptop can talk to it that fast.

Channel-Frequency

Selecting the Right Wireless Channel

External factors can seriously degrade your wireless network. If there are a lot of wireless networks around you, they can overlap channels and decrease both your speed and range. As you can see above, channels 1, 6, and 11 are generally selected as they don’t overlap with each other. But selecting the proper channel depends on the wireless networks around you. You really need a Wireless Engineering Review to determine how to setup your wireless channels to maximize speed and stability.

wireless-speeds

As you can see above, speeds on wireless can vary from 54Mb/s to 600Mb/s just based on number of antennas, spatial streams, and Band support. For comparison most standard gigabit Ethernet connections in offices run at 1000Mb/s.

Wireless is a powerfully liberating tool when configured correctly, but for business critical applications delivered with maximum stability I still recommend a wired connection. A doctor once asked me “Why can’t everything be wireless? In this day and age?” my response was “When it absolutely, positively has to work, you want a wire.”

Are you currently experiencing a slow or sluggish wireless network?

Contact us today for a Wireless Engineering Review and we will ensure your wireless network if configured properly for optimal performance.

Author: Daniel Nicolitz, Chief Technology Officer