Why is WiFi sometimes unobtainable?
Has anyone else noticed that WiFi coverage at LAX is quite poor? As number 12, they are ranked below the top half of the 20 busiest airports in the country. WiFi at the top three – Denver, Philadelphia, Seattle – is 4-6 times faster!
But it’s not just airports. Restaurants are culprits as well. After enjoying a lunch-time conversation with a friend, we each looked at our calendars to decide when next to meet. My smart phone was ready. His was not. “Somehow,” he told me, “I don’t seem to have a signal.” WiFi present, but not accessible due to some unseen WiFi obstacle.
This common problem is most frustrating – and time consuming – when it happens at your business. Given the rise in personal devices brought to a business either by employees or outside sources, there is a need to consider potential WiFi obstacles in your office building. When it works, WiFi is very useful. When it meets with multiple WiFi obstacles, it is not.
We’ve all been in that position and know the sense of helplessness when the connection to the internet simply doesn’t work. Maybe it’s the carrier. Maybe it’s the WiFi. Maybe it’s the phone. For those occasions when it is the WiFi, you might check out these notable WiFi Obstacles. Linksys, one of the premier manufacturers of business-grade WiFi routers, passed along this helpful article from Entrepreneur.
- Glass Windows – tinted glass often has metal additives that absorb WiFi signals. A glass conference room looks good, but might be a detriment to that WiFi signal.
- Mirrors – the modern process of making a mirror is called silvering; so you can see why they reflect back up to 50% of a WiFi signal. Smoke & mirrors make the magical signal disappear.
- Water – the density of water absorbs and traps signal; don’t expect much at the beach.
- Metallic Mesh – known as “chicken wire,” is a construction material found commonly in walls, and there goes your signal.
- Open Network – When a business does not consider the number of devices, workers and outside guests seeking WiFi service, there can be a problem. The fluctuating demand may see peaks that overwhelm what the WiFi router is capable of handling.
- Meetings – Get all the sales guys together and ask them to download the new 20 MB sales presentation. At the same time. In the same room. And there may be problems.
- Network Management – Multiple WiFi systems in one office complex that is not coordinated will cause interference and inefficiency from lack of system management.
- Spatial Management – Something as simple as the location of the WiFi device can make a difference; users with the greatest demand should be closest to the WiFi router. Or various access points should be used.
- Resource Management – Things like filing cabinets or other large metal objects will not allow the signal to get through. Probably not a good idea to place the WiFi router in the filing room!
- Kitchens – I’m not even sure why a kitchen would be considered with its refrigerators and microwave ovens. These two alone could easily devour the WiFi signal.
- Bodies – Bodies of people gathered for events can prove to be a barrier to a WiFi signal. Bodies are mostly water and the density of water absorbs. Avoid the problem by mounting the WiFi access point in the ceiling.
- Inferior Equipment – Saving money with a substandard WiFi router is a good way to invite WiFi signal problems. A cheap WiFi router that had mediocre results with just 3-5 employees will fail badly when the company grows to 10! Properly sized business-grade WiFi routers will resolve this issue quickly.
In passing we have pointed to various solutions to the problem: business grade equipment; ceiling installation; efficient integration into the network; range extenders and multiple access points to distribute the signal. Alliant is here to help. We can analyze the specific needs of your building and business. Alliant will provide a solution that will minimize the WiFi obstacles and maximize the WiFi signal. Give us a call! But use the “land-line” to be sure you get through. (626) 461-1300.