Does Your Wireless Network Need a Second Look?

Does Your Wireless Network Need a Second Look?

Key Points:

  • Physical work space changes can impact network performance
  • Adding competing systems can threaten reliability
  • An old design may not hold up under new demands

The wireless network inside your business isn’t a set it and forget it amenity. Demands and conditions change, leaving the unprepared in a vulnerable position that hurts productivity and pinches budgets. Here are key signs pointing to the need for a site survey and redesign to keep getting the best return on your network investment.

Your Work Space Has Changed.

Wireless networks depend on radio frequencies (RF) that flow across your property to connect systems and devices. At some point, you installed WiFi infrastructure to match your physical work environment, but is the environment still exactly the same?

Network problems can result from simply moving objects around. Maybe you’ve increased inventory storage or relocated it to a different area. Perhaps spaces that were wide open when your network was originally installed are now filled with boxes, furniture, liquids, metals, or other material obstacles that compromise RF signals.

Have you remodeled since your network was installed? A floorplan change can immediately conflict with the original network design, throwing up concrete walls and other construction barriers that challenge RF signals in new ways. Even steel rebar inside concrete walls and sun-blocking window glass can absorb signals and require modifications in wireless network design.

construction crews two way radios kansas city
Floor plan changes and construction materials can challenge old wireless networks.

You’ve Added Other Systems.

Unrelated technology systems installed or reconfigured after your wireless network was put in can also present problems. Air conditioners and furnaces, industrial fans, appliances — just about anything with a motor can produce electricity that interferes with RF. 

“Even new fluorescent lights can trigger the need for WiFi network adjustments,” says Ralph Aguilar, Commenco’s Technical Services Manager. “Metal ductwork added to an HVAC system is also known to cause issues. You’d be surprised at what unrelated systems can do to wireless signals.”

Interference might also be traced to other communications systems you’ve added within the walls of your business, or even just the presence of bluetooth connections. New wireless networks installed inside neighboring businesses can be a source of interference as well.

HVAC changes, new fluorescent lights, and other electrical systems can cause interference.

Your Old Network is Under New Pressure.

Your wireless network may have been designed perfectly for your purposes, but have those purposes changed? Growing businesses face a variety of growing pains, including an influx of new demands on their networks. What started as a simple need to connect a few computers and other devices wirelessly may now be a very different scenario.

Are you doing more video conferencing? The data load that comes with it can quickly stretch the limits of an outdated network design. Video is one of the fastest growing communication tools in industries across the board. Software applications are getting more complex and data intensive too. As the Web evolves, more data is flooding wireless pipelines and loads will only get bigger.

Growing businesses also grow their payroll. Adding employees means adding new user demands to your wireless network. Now may be a good time to redesign around an increased staff size and make sure there’s plenty of network capacity for even more employees in the future.

More users mean more demand on a wireless network.

Solve the Problem the Right Way Without Delay.

Dead zones, spotty connectivity — frustration. A poorly performing wireless network can slow down productivity as your people struggle to get things done and resort to inefficient work-arounds. Low confidence in your network directly impacts morale and quality work. Time is money and you’ll continue bleeding both as conditions deteriorate. The longer you wait, the worse things get. 

The answer isn’t just tacking on more WiFi access points to strengthen or extend your network. Simply adding access points often translates to overspending on unnecessary equipment when a strategic network redesign may actually save money. Plus, if you make poor choices for access point locations, you could risk creating interference that brings FCC fines. 

A site survey conducted by a wireless technology professional is the most efficient and effective way to adjust and optimize your network design. An experienced pro will consider environmental factors and emerging usage demands to carefully architect a design that fits your business properly. Whether you stick with WiFi or upgrade to a Private LTE Network, the result will be a wireless network that performs reliably and fades from awareness as your people and your processes thrive without interruption.