As the move to a distributed workforce continues, in fact, accelerates as a result of extended remote working practices, understanding what constitutes good Wi-Fi service and how to achieve it, becomes fundamental to running an efficient and productive business.
Social distancing demands a re-architecting of the office environment and the tools and services employees access, connectivity included – whether it’s at work or at home. Here are a few things you should know before you decide to invest in a redesign or a brand-new Wi-Fi network.
1. Your Wi-Fi network is only as good as your planning.
Every Wi-Fi network design should be tailor-made, never ‘cookie-cutter’. Map out your focus areas, understand the geography of your working space, its physical make-up, how thick and dense the walls are, how densely populated the space is, the main applications, the users’ needs. Know your priority – is it coverage over throughput? Know your users, your apps and your devices; this will help you avoid traffic jams. There are predictive modelling platforms available in 2 and 3D, helping you to visualise your network deployment. Have your design criteria clearly laid out and do a post-deployment survey to ascertain efficiency. Stick to this process: Survey – Plan – Monitor – Troubleshoot.
2. Do I need a better WiFi network?
The need for a more efficient and responsive Wi-Fi network is driven by the applications you use in your business and the level of responsiveness your employees and customers experience day to day. When poor connectivity impacts productivity, it’s time to review your network. An efficient Wi-Fi network can be a competitive differentiator, especially in the current environment.
3. What benefits does Wi-Fi 6 bring?
Wi-Fi 6 (aka 802.11ax), is here now. It is the latest standard in Wi-Fi. This version goes beyond merely offering more speed. It offers better efficiency, splitting one channel into many, so more Wi-Fi devices can use it at the same time, while reducing interference. Wi-Fi 6 is most efficient once it is widely adopted, so the more clients you migrate to Wi-Fi 6, the bigger the benefits. It needs a good network design to work well, enabling efficient use of airtime. The sooner most of your clients migrate to Wi-Fi 6, the better the performance of your network. Wi-Fi 6 is on par with the current standard (802.11ac) in terms of cost.
4. Which businesses are most impacted by the effectiveness of their Wi-Fi network?
Businesses with high-density environments, like warehouses with multiple autonomous robots connected to the network, are a good example of an environment where the effectiveness of the Wi-Fi network impacts business flow and productivity. Multi-tenanted buildings are another example of high-density Wi-Fi networks, only this time much of it is not in your control. Having good analysis & design tools can help you overcome the challenges of “Wi-Fi Noisy” neighbours and help you to be a courteous neighbour too.
5. What are the standards in terms of Wi-Fi performance?
The optimal throughput depends on the apps used, but 3 to 5 Mbps is average. Mobility is also an important vector for measuring your Wi-Fi, as is coverage. The number of clients per access point is 25 on average.
Nevertheless, the increase in applications and devices requiring Wi-Fi bandwidth and low latency are driving the need to adopt the latest standards and deploy the best designs.
6. Things change
Wi-Fi environments are not static. Many things do and will change following your initial wonderful design and professional implementation. Changes will range from configuration of the physical space to applications, new networks popping up nearby or increases in usage and devices. It is therefore important to use tools that measure user experience quality and make regular assessments for possible changes and updates to the deployment.
For more information and consultancy about building an effective and efficient Wi-Fi network contact Nuvias today.