Wearables wreaking havoc

This week at Geekabit we’re talking about wearables.

Wearables are the newest fitness craze and it seems that social media is full of people uploading their data.  Everyone is tracking their heartrate and their steps these days and we’re not complaining.  Wearables are a great advance in technology that can benefit health so we’re all for the latest craze.

However, we are not for the congestion that has inevitably increased since wearables became a ‘thing’.  Wearables are often Wi-Fi enabled, however ones that aren’t can really cause problems since the Bluetooth that they operate off of uses the same 2.4Ghz frequency as most Wi-Fi services.

The initial cause of disruption is just the fact that people have gone from having one device to having two or three which puts pressure on the network.  Not only that but as we previously mentioned, there is the danger that your 2.4Ghz band will get congested by wearables operating using Bluetooth.  As people become more and more attached to their wearables and start to take their data seriously, it is becoming hugely important to have a Wi-Fi service that can handle the demand.

Luckily we know a few tricks that can help solve these issues and make sure that your customers don’t get frustrated by the congested W-Fi.  An easy way to solve the congestion is ensure that fewer devices are operating on the network, as every device is using up bandwidth.   It might pay to get a separate network for personal use or for employees if your network is based in a place that is used by both customers and employees.  As always with these things, a survey is a great idea.  A Wi-Fi survey will tell you exactly what is going on with your network and how much it can take vs what pressure is being put on it.  This is hugely helpful to any business experiencing Wi-Fi problems which have potentially come about by increased pressure on the network from wearables.

If you think that your network is being affected by  wearables then don’t hesitate to contact us to gain some useful advice on how to solve these issues.

Hotel Wi-Fi: Why doesn’t it work?


We have all experienced the frustrations of hotel Wi-Fi.  It seems that despite hotel Wi-Fi being an essential these days, it’s rare that hotel networks actually work efficiently.

 

Incorrect channel plans are the main source of interruption and in some ways the easiest to control.  In most cases channels 1, 6 and 11 are appropriate channel plans and work well in most countries.  Difficulties arise when hotels have each adjacent AP connected to the next available channel.  This causes adjacent channel interference whereby your device connects from channel 1 to 2 to 3 and so on as you move around the space.  As previously mentioned, channels 1, 6 and 11 work well in most countries and using these channels appropriately can significantly improve your network.

 

The other common error is trying to connect to 2.4GHz instead of 5GHz.  As we’ve discussed in previous blogs 5GHz is the more appropriate bandwidth in most cases, yet hotels still connect to 2.4GHz, which as we know is overcrowded and somewhat of a junk space.  Turning off 2.4GHz will help to reduce this interference.

 

Access point placement is also crucial to hotel networks and can sometimes be the downfall.  Client devices need to be in clear range of the AP without things like smoke detectors, exit signs or thick walls getting in the way.  Again, this is easily solved by finding the areas where signal is experiencing interference and relocating the AP’s to more appropriate areas.  Often hotels can try to do the job cheaply and thereby place AP’s in convenient places which turn out to be rather ineffective.  


Those top three hotel Wi-Fi fail are the reason for lots of customer frustration and complaining which could be easily avoided.  If you, or a business you know needs help with hotel Wi-Fi then be sure to put them in touch!

Wi-Fi – it’s not rocket science!

Here at Geekabit we are passionate about good Wi-Fi.  Increasingly we have found that clients think of us as wizards who have fallen upon some secret knowledge about Wi-Fi – this is not true.  This blog is all about sharing the easy tips and tricks that will help you get the most out of your Wi-Fi.

Firstly, we need to mention the importance of 5GHz band vs 2.4.  As you probably know 5GHz is way more effective as a primary band and delivers 8 times the capacity of 2.4GHz.

Secondly, a useful tip is to put APs near users.  It sounds so simple, but so often Wi-Fi fails are caused by APs that are located in bizarre and hard to reach places.  Client performance will significantly increase if you place APs in rooms where users are and avoid hallways and staircases as AP sites.

Our next tip is about coverage.  Coverage should always be tailored to the building or facility that you are in.  Radio frequency obstructions should be assessed before you get fitting APs and you should always consider the correct antennas and orientation for the location.

Another way that you can improve your connection is by disabling 2.4 GHz Radios since there are fewer available channels and they can cause interference which is unnecessary.

To increase efficiency you may also want to disable low data rates.  Low data rates can impact the networks overall performance and disabling these will give a reduction in traffic which will improve your connection.

Once you have done the hard work, it is important to check that what you are doing is working in practise and not just in theory.  Validate and check the design using actual client devices to see for yourself how client performance is affected.  You could also use a RF site survey to check how your improvements are working.