Wifi in NYC offices is a constant scramble. Looking for quick direction on how to improve yours? Learn why your wifi isn’t going the distance in less than 90 seconds!
Wireless networks just aren’t designed to handle the characteristics of an urban environment. If you’re using hardware from your internet service provider, you’re at an even greater disadvantage. Here’s what’s making your wifi slow:
New York City offices are small, giving the impression that one router will cover the entire space. This may be true from a signal standpoint. However, each device is going to get very little airtime. Wifi is a shared medium. Only one device can be talking at once. Any more than that, and every device has to stop talking and wait for clear air.
Imagine a room of 50 people, all trying to communicate with one another. If only one person can talk at a time, they’ll spend a lot of time waiting for each other to finish talking. They’ll also interrupt one another frequently, so that nobody can hear anything. Your devices work the same way.
The rule of thumb for a single wifi access point is 50 devices. Anything more than that and you’ll suffer performance issues.
So how do businesses with many employees operate? Each person has at least a smartphone and computer. Are all businesses with more than 25 employees doomed to suffer poor performance?
Today’s enterprise networks use multiple wireless access points operating on non-overlapping channels. It’s like dividing the group of 50 people into soundproof rooms. Now, two conversations can happen simultaneously. The airwaves can carry twice as much data.
Multiply this concept across the 24 non-overlapping channels that modern wireless provides, and you can support hundreds of devices in one wireless environment. You just need more wireless access points.
All of those cool materials that you love about your office- that brick facade, those glass cubicles…those are blocking your wireless signal! Wireless technology operates over ratio frequency – just like cordless phones or FM radio. The signal from your router can travel through most materials without issue. Sheetrock, for example, is almost transparent to radio waves. Certain other materials are more dense, and reduce signal greatly.
If you’ve ever wondered why the signal’s poor in your conference room, it probably has something to do with the glass. Glass is transparent to visible light waves, but greatly diminishes radio frequency signals. Brick and concrete do the same, to an even greater extent. And some metal coverings block radio waves so well that no signal gets through at all.
For the best performance, your wireless access points should be mounted out in the open where your devices can see them. This is where multiple access points come in handy. Different access points can be installed in areas that are separate by materials which block a wireless signal. These access points communicate with the greater network over a wired network backbone, which can traverse walls and other obstacles.
Your internet connection
Many businesses use cable internet because it’s present when they arrive in their building. The wiring’s already set; it’s good to go; it’s easy!
But cable, by nature, is a shared medium. You share a device called a node with dozens to hundreds of your neighbors. The 300 megabit connection that your provider advertises is actually 300 megabits for your entire node. When your neighbors upload or download heavily, it uses bandwidth that you could be using. This causes slowness during peak times, and widespread reliability issues.
For a more consistent internet experience, get yourself a dedicated connection. A dedicated connection comes with a service level agreement (SLA), which guarantees you certain bandwidth, uptime, and latency (how long it takes for your data to get to a server on the internet and back). If your provider fails to deliver on these parameters, they credit you on your monthly bill. Providers hate giving refunds, so failures are extraordinarily rare.