It's an all-too-familiar experience with many Wi-Fi users: despite strong Wi-Fi signal, your Internet experience is slow. This is especially true more often in the workplace now as BYOD programs have encouraged more employees to sign on to their employer's wireless network.
The cause for this largely has to do with the fact that Wi-Fi is a shared medium and more people using a single Wi-Fi connection will result in slower speeds for everyone, despite strong signal quality. However, another reason is that the Wi-Fi signal may be blocked by obstacles, while interference from other Wi-Fi networks and Bluetooth devices — along with tablets and smartphones constantly probing for Wi-Fi networks — can further gum up the works.
Such interference results in dropped packets, which then have to be rebroadcast, which in turn increases the congestion. This problem is further exacerbated by the fact that many mobile devices have poor Wi-Fi antennas, which causes them to negotiate a slow data rate with the access point they are connected to.
Adding bandwidth or more access points may seem like obvious solutions to this, but bandwidth isn't the issue and more access points will only cause further interference. No, the only real solution is to use smart Wi-Fi equipment: access points and other networking hardware that use specialized software and hardware to improve wireless network performance in busy areas.
For example, Aruba Networks' (News - Alert) software-based Adaptive Radio Management technology can automatically assign channel and power settings for all access points on a network, while Ruckus Wireless' smart Wi-Fi technology allows for a highly directional Wi-Fi signal from its access points to client devices.
Meanwhile, Xirrus, a leader in high-performance wireless networks, offers an array-based smart Wi-Fi system. In fact, the company recently partnered with STS International. This partnership saw Xirrus replace the aging wireless networks of STS clients in the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg with high-performance systems. Xirrus' array-based system offers four times the coverage and up to eight times the bandwidth and capacity of conventional architectures.
Indeed, optimized antenna arrays have been identified by Alcatel-Lucent and Bell Labs (News - Alert) as being one of the five most important aspects of a wireless network, along with seamless increase in spectrum bandwidth, optimization of cell site capacity, optimization of technology evolution, and maximal utilization of new spectral bands.
Want to learn more about the latest in communications and technology? Then be sure to attend ITEXPO Miami 2013, Jan 29- Feb. 1 in Miami, Florida. Stay in touch with everything happening at ITEXPO (News - Alert). Follow us on Twitter.
Edited by Brooke Neuman
Network Management Home