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The Evolution of Wireless in the Workplace

Posted by Mark Waruszyla on Tue, Jun 06, 2017

As wireless in the workplace has evolved over the years from a handful of hotspots in a typical office to today’s total coverage needs, many organizations have failed to redesign and keep up with current demands and expectations. There are a couple of key reasons a redesign should be considered.  First the quantity of devices connecting to the wireless network has multiplied and second, the migration of newer devices to the 5ghz band.  Originally the 2.4ghz band was the easy choice due to the fact that it has superior range and also 2.4ghz devices were genarally less expensive than those that use the 5ghz band.  The fact that there are only 3 non-overlapping channels was not a problem due to the relatively small number of devices that were connecting.  Now with the thousands of wifi enabled devices the 2.4ghz band has become overcrowded.  The 5ghz band utilizing 24 non-overlapping channels and is much less suseptable to non wifi interference. Manufacturers of wifi enabled devices who do not want their customers to experience poor performance with their product have begun producing their product utilizing the less crowded 5ghz band.  Amoung the hurdles organizations are running into to accomadate these newer devices by adding addional 5ghz radios is repositioning their existing AP’s.  Signal on the 5ghz band does not have the same coverage as the 2.4ghz band therefore more AP’s closer together are generally needed.  Additionally, with the higher data rates of the new standards, additional wiring and switch port count needs to be considered.

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Topics: wifi, Wireless, wifi network

Hard Evidence On The Benefits of Utilizing 5ghz Bands in The Wireless Workplace

Posted by Mark Waruszyla on Sat, Mar 18, 2017

In a previous blog I discussed the growing need to move as many devices as possible over to the 5ghz band. Since that blog post, a customer of ours experienced some issues in his environment that I would like to share with you.  This is a warehouse environment where handheld scanners are used for the purpose of inventory.  There was an area in one of his facilities where the scanners did not work consistently.  After some investigation we determined the default configuration of the scanners was to utilize the 2.4ghz band.  With the use of a wifi scanner we could see that the local AP (servicing the scanners in that area) was configured to use channel 6 on the 2.4ghz band. We could also see additional unknown SSIDs also using channel 6 with strong signal strength.  At this point we had a few choices.  First, we could change to either channel 1 or 11.  This would cause us to re-channel the rest of the facility.  Second, we could ask the neighbor to change to a different channel but same as us, this would likely cause them to re-channel. Finally, we could investigate utilizing the 5ghz band.  In this case we were fortunate that the scanners are dual band and could be reconfigured to use the 5ghz band.  After we made the change the connection issues were resolved.  Keep in mind there are 24 non-overlapping channels in the 5ghz band and only 3 in the 2.4ghz band so it is much easier to find a channel with no interference.

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Topics: wifi, Wireless, 5ghz