Extending Your Wireless Network Potential
Weak wireless signals are a real pain and interfere with running your business. But dont fret; there are effective and easy ways to expand your wireless potential.
Frustrating, thats the word for it: when your wireless connection isnt as strong as it should be. When there are dead zones in certain parts of your building. When you are constantly losing your Wi-Fi connection.
A weak wireless signal is a common problem for many businesses, especially those housed in multi-story or oddly shaped buildings. But there are simple ways you can strengthen your wireless signal and expand its range. Some of these solutions involve moving your wireless router, while others may require the purchase of additional hardware.
The instructions for your wireless routerthe hardware that distributes the Wi-Fi signal to your various computersprovide its signal range, 150 feet or so. However, this figure is the optimal range, and a number of factors can reduce it. The interference of walls, floors, filing cabinets or bookshelves can limit the useful range of your Wi-Fi.
If you experience a weak signal, look for obstacles that might cause interference and move your router away. While youre at it, make sure your router is centralized in your building.
Routers distribute the Wi-Fi signal in an omnidirectional pattern in every direction outward. To ensure that each part of your business receives the strongest signal, the router should be placed as centrally as possible. This may mean placing the router in the middle of the room or on a middle floor.
A common mistake in router placement is to locate it near an outer wall. The result is that half the Wi-Fi signal is directed outside, away from your computers.
Another way to make sure your Wi-Fi signal is going where it should is to replace your routers omnidirectional antenna with a high-gain, or unidirectional, antenna. This type of antenna distributes your signal where it is needed most.
Your wireless network has to compete with a lot of other signals coming from neighboring networks or from devices like cordless phones and microwaves. This interference can cause signal noise and reduce your wireless potential.
To reduce noise, try changing your wireless channel, as explained in your router instructions. You can also purchase cordless phones and other wireless appliances that use a different frequency from that of your Wi-Fi network.
If moving or reconfiguring your router doesnt increase signal strength, or there are still dead zones in your building, you may need to purchase a wireless repeater.
Wi-Fi repeaters are hardware that extends your wireless range by picking up the signal from your router, amplifying it and redistributing it. Place the repeater halfway between your router and your weak signal areas. Some buildings may require two or more repeaters for optimal networking.
The typical Wi-Fi network uses wireless-G hardware, an upgrade in strength from the previous wireless-B. If all efforts to increase your wireless potential have failed using your current system, consider making the switch to the newest hardware, wireless-N. Keep in mind that switching to a wireless-N router wont make any difference unless your computer adaptors are upgraded as well.
Weak signals are a real bother and interfere with running your business. No worries, though, a solution is readily at hand.