6 steps to optimize your Wi-Fi network infrastructure
Network administrators should follow the following 6 main steps when deciding to design a well-performing Wi-Fi network. In particular, given the increasing traffic demand expected in the upcoming years, they should effectively address coverage and capacity, the two main aspects that need to be optimized in order to rely on a future-proof, flexible Wi-Fi network infrastructure.
1. Determine how many access points you need
First of all, you have to know how many and what type of devices you need to set up in your network. For instance, depending on your needs, you should evaluate if it is better to opt for indoor or outdoor access points, decide their settings and amount, especially for wireless LAN installations in large locations, such as schools or hospitals. Being vendor-agnostic, Tanaza supports a wide range of indoor and outdoor multi-vendor devices – i.e. TP-Link, MikroTik, Ubiquiti and UniFi, among many, even with PoE – and can help you to choose the most apt one for your business needs.
2. Run a Wi-Fi network’s survey test
In order to provide a robust and reliable Wi-Fi experience, you need to assess the environment affecting your network by running a Wi-Fi survey test. Indeed, multiple access points in the same area – i.e. in the surrounding buildings – might be using the same channel or an overlapping channel in the 2.4GhZ band, ending up to lower propagation of your Wi-Fi network’s signal and disturbing interference. Also, physical obstacles like trees, water, reflecting surfaces, as well as microwaves, building materials, etc., are potential sources of interference that can negatively affect your Wi-Fi network performance. By relying on a network stumbler or survey tool able to detect coverage and capacity, or on the Tanaza’s site surveying tool, you will be able to detect such interferences and, accordingly, determine the best place where to deploy your access points.
Furthermore, Tanaza features an automatic channel selection tool, that is super-simple to use. Simply set channel as “automatic” and the system will automatically find and assign the best channel to your device, each time it reboots.
3. Monitor your Wi-Fi network infrastructure
You should regularly monitor your Wi-Fi network infrastructure in order to rely on a predictable performance, in particular if you handle a dense deployment. For instance, one of the main issues in wireless LAN deployments is given by an uncontrolled bandwidth usage, which can cause bottlenecks and connectivity problems. Tanaza, for instance, features an easy-to-use remote monitoring tool that effectively monitors bandwidth, by constantly checking upload and download speed, the bandwidth utilization and the devices’ load percentage.
In order to limit the bandwidth usage, Tanaza allows you to set up a maximum number of concurrent clients per SSID and the maximum bandwidth per SSID. Furthermore, our network monitoring software remotely checks the real-time status of your devices from a centralized dashboard and sends automatic and customizable alerts if it detects outages within your network.
4. Improve your network’s spectral efficiency
As Wi-Fi hotspots are becoming more and more congested, it is important to maximize the usage of the limited Wi-Fi radio frequency spectrum in order to provide your deployment with the right network reliability. In doing so, you can either add more access points as a way to handle the increased data traffic across a channel, or you can operate not only the 2,4GHz band, but also the 5GHz band. Indeed, conversely to the more used 2.4GHz, the 5GHz band is less crowded and therefore provides more capacity and limits interferences. If you are installing in dense deployments or in place with a high risk for interference, simply choose dual-radio dual-band devices or 5GHz devices, like the TP-Link AC1200 (Archer C5) v1, Wi-Next Naawigo Dual Radio , Ubiquiti UniFi AP AC LITE, or EnGenius EAP600 (all supported by the Tanaza software). In detail, according to a study by Xirrus, in the 5GHz band “seven times as much bandwidth is available versus the commonly congested 2.4GHz band”.
5. Opt for a scalable network capacity
Considering that a larger amount of people is expected to be connected simultaneously to the same network in a dense wireless environment, it is important to design a flexible Wi-Fi infrastructure able to deploy the necessary capacity when needed. In order to meet the higher user density demand, a scalable solutions is what you need. For instance, Tanaza benefits from unlimited scalability, which means you start managing a given number of access points and then you can upgrade them when the density of Wi-Fi users and the related data traffic increase. In this way, your Wi-Fi network infrastructure can effectively handle an unlimited number of connected clients. Remind that you may need to increase the bandwidth and the throughput provided by your WISP or ISP.
6. Enhance your Wi-Fi infrastructure’s security
You should make sure that your Wi-Fi network can be easily accessed by guest users. It is important that your infrastructure promptly authenticates users to connect to your network’s SSIDs, by, at the same time, instantly blocking unauthorized users trying to access your network management system. In this respect, Tanaza guarantees high levels of security and reliability by separating the encrypted management traffic and the client traffic on different networks. Furthermore, Tanaza features a built-in responsive and easy to set up splash page, which allows guest users to authenticate in seconds.