Wi-Fi has untangled humanity, quite literally. Those jumbled Ethernet cables with their confusing ports are banished to backstage. Now, all we need is one connection to a Wi-Fi router and voila! Internet.
Wi-Fi networks simplify your IT infrastructure. WLAN networks makes an office look less like a scene from The Matrix and more like a creative workspace, but it can bring an array of difficulties as well. Unlike the sturdy Ethernet cable, Wi-Fi connections fluctuate. Signal bars can drop inexplicably causing connectivity issues, slow speeds, and other unsavory scenarios. Such issues can negatively affect a business’s user satisfaction and overall productivity.
Parameters to check if you are facing connectivity issues:
Too many devices could be reliant on your WLAN network, leading to bottlenecks in data transmission and slow internet connectivity. Wi-Fi bandwidths have certain networking capacities. The 5 GHz bandwidth offers better capacities, higher speeds, and less congestion, but it has a smaller range compared to 2.4 GHz. Dual and tri-band routers can provide multi-bandwidth access.
Signals that lie within or adjacent to one channel interfere with each other, leading to slow response time, packet loss, and overall poor connections. It’s like a six-lane expressway, but with all the semi-trucks, minivans, and motorcycles driving in one single lane—a traffic nightmare! Interference is a common issue with most Wi-Fi routers, usually caused by other routers operating in the same channel, or nearby electromagnetic devices like microwaves and bluetooth speakers.
Low signal strength
Wi-Fi signal strength is visually represented as signal bars in most devices. In networking, signal strength is measured in dBm, with -50 dBm being considered excellent while anything less than -70 dBm is poor. Around -90 dBm signal strength is considered non-existent, or the dreaded “zero bars”.
Signal strength can drop due to a variety of factors: there might not be enough range, building architecture can lead to signal attenuation, or the building materials (especially metal and reinforced concrete) can dampen signals.
How to get the best out of your Wi-Fi network
There are many ways to avoid these problems and keep your Wi-Fi network running smoothly.
Interference and data congestion can be avoided by selecting less crowded channels. Most routers are configured to use channel six by default, but switching to channel one or 11 can offer better connectivity.
Routers should be placed at a central location near the ceiling and without any mechanical obstructions nearby to dampen the signal. Another way to ensure good signal strength is to use a mesh network, with access points placed strategically at locations where signal strength is weak. Wireless repeaters are viable solutions, but their connections can be more erratic compared to mesh Wi-Fi.
Switching to a 5GHz band can prevent interference from 2.4GHz devices like microwaves and bluetooth speakers, but there are range constraints.
For large-scale IT infrastructures where even a slight disruption could have massive repercussions, these tips are just half measures. Only a comprehensive network monitoring tool will truly cover all bases.
Solving Wi-Fi monitoring issues with OpManager
OpManager’s Wi-Fi network analyzer is a powerful network monitoring feature. It allows administrators to possess comprehensive network monitoring solutions for their IT infrastructure.
OpManager monitors your WLAN network and shows you the warning signs of each emerging problem. This helps you take preemptive action and maintain constant uptime and availability.
OpManager: The comprehensive Wi-Fi analyzer
With OpManager you can discover your WLAN devices en masse and add them within a matter of minutes. This is particularly important for large IT infrastructures where there would be hundreds or thousands of devices. Discovery of devices can be scheduled, classified, and automated, and criteria can be applied to discover selected devices based on user requirements and preferences. OpManager associates certain monitors to discovered devices based on configurable templates. With discovery rule engine, you can also configure custom rules to discover devices automatically and associate monitors to them.
Advanced network monitoring capabilities
Availability monitoring for routers and switches: OpManager can measure the availability of your routers and switches using a variety of metrics such as packet loss, response time, and by basic pinging. You can configure OpManager to generate alarms whenever any of these metrics are below a user set threshold. OpManager has an intuitive switch monitoring tool which allows you to monitor the status and availability of your switches. Switch port mapping helps you visualize switch status by showing you which ports are down, which are still transmitting, along with important information such as switch type, switch name, port number, etc. You can also configure OpManager to monitor business critical ports alone, reducing unnecessary alarms.
Performance metrics: OpManager monitors performance metrics such as CPU utilization, memory utilization, and system uptime. Other important information, such as number of SSIDs, access points, and rogue access points are also monitored.
Signal monitoring: Important signal parameters such as signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) can be monitored. This provides a clear picture of the quality of connection between a client device and an access point. By configuring thresholds for these, you can be alerted for an increase in SNR.
Network traffic and bandwidth monitoring: You can use OpManager to monitor the number of users connected to your network, including how many are on the 2.4 GHz bandwidth and how many are on 5 GHz bandwidth. Network traffic metrics such as how many bytes of data have been transmitted, transmission rate, and data received by client can also be monitored.
OpManager enables you to customize your reports based on various parameters such as device type, availability and response, health and performance, and other predefined report templates. You can also configure OpManager to generate reports for the duration of your business hours with business hour rules. Forecast reports will analyze current resource utilization trends to predict resource exhaustion, so you can plan ahead.
OpManager offers more than just WLAN monitoring. It can be used for all network monitoring situations for servers, virtual machines, routers, and printers. OpManager tracks crucial metrics, delivers precise reports, and generates alarms for you. Plus, new features are regularly added to cater for rapidly changing business requirements and expectations, such as adaptive thresholds, which use machine learning to set thresholds without any user input.
While patience is undoubtedly a virtue, when it comes to Wi-Fi networks, you don’t necessarily need it. Download OpManager for a better experience.