WIFI Troubles

Wireless networks are great… when they work!

Wireless networks are great when they work.  They allow us to move around, not have wires everywhere, and in general make technology work better.  If you doubt this, plug in your phone, tablet, or laptop into its power cable and try using it.  You will quickly find yourself wanting to unplug the cable and move around.  It doesn’t take long before people will get agitated because they cannot just move around.  Again, this is all given the wireless network around you is working properly.

Common Calls

A common call we get from residential and commercial clients goes something like this:

Client:  We need help with our WIFI.  It keeps going in and out.

Us:  We can help.  Can you be more specific about what’s going on?

Client:  Exactly what we said.  One moment it works great, and the next, it just doesn’t work.

Us:  Do you have any hard-wired devices, like a computer or such?

Client:  Yes, and they work perfect.  It’s just the WIFI.

Us:  Let us come out and see what is going on.

And when we get onsite and look at the number of wireless networks, we find a bunch of wireless networks.  It is not uncommon inapartment complexes and crowded suburbs to find 16 to 30 wireless networks stacked on top of one another.  And this creates a massive problem.

A little education is in order.  Wireless networks work on specific radio frequencies called a “channel”.  While we will not get into the specifics, think of a channel like a lane on a highway.

Here are the rules.

– Each channel is a specific traffic lane for a wireless network.

– Each device on a given channel must take a turn.

– Each network must have it’s own name.

If you live in a rural area or where homes are more spread apart, these rules are very easy to stick with.  When you live in a congested area, this gets more complicated.

Most wireless networks run on a 2.4GHz frequency and here in the United States we are allowed 11 channels to work with.  So, in theory, 11 wireless networks can operate on separate channels.  (For those who are techies, we are keeping this explanation extremely simple).  Once you cross over this 11 wireless network number, the channel is being shared by someone else.  So, if you check the number of WIFI networks around you, and you have 12 or more, there are networks sharing the name channels.  Now, most routers and wireless access points are set to Channel 6 as the default.  So, if everyone is working on the default Channel 6, there is a LOT of sharing which can clog up the traffic lane quickly.  Think again of the interstate idea we are working with.  What if everyone drove ONLY IN THE CENTER LANE!?!  No one would go anywhere quickly!

How we fix it

This is what we find most often.  By using tools such at Wireless Network Analysis, Channel Network analysis, and a few other tools, we can normally find an open, uncontested spot for our clients to operate on.  By doing this, our clients wireless networks stabilize and they can get back to enjoying their technology the way they want to.

So, if you are having issues with your Wireless Network (or other technology needs), please give us a call.  Let us put our skills to work for you and Leveraged what you already have before you go buy another router or modem and find yourself still in the same boat as before.

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